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Craft Book Spotlight: Five new books for writers

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Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer: The Artistry, Joy, and Career of Storytelling by J. Michael Straczynski

    J. Michael Straczynski has written in just about every genre imaginable: Fiction, autobiography, radio, movies, TV shows, comics, and more. In his latest book, Straczynski shares what he’s learned over his long and multifaceted career, dedicating the first half of the book (“Becoming a Writer”) to beginners and the second half (“Staying a Writer”) to “writers who have achieved some level of success and are eager to get to the next level, refresh their writing skills, or reinvent themselves in order to keep their careers vital and relevant,” writes Straczynski in the intro.


Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping by Matthew Salesses

This national bestseller asks readers to rethink how we teach craft and reimagine the workshop to better include and invite diverse storytelling and storytellers in the classroom. Craft in the Real World was named one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2021 (So Far) by Esquire and received rave reviews from a number of publications, including the New York Times Book Review, which wrote: “Craft in the Real World is a significant contribution to discussions of the art of fiction and a necessary challenge to received views about whose stories are told, how they are told and for whom they are intended.”


Wordcraft: The Complete Guide to Clear, Powerful Writing by Jack Hart

Writing coach Jack Hart updates and retitles his 2006 book, A Writer’s Coach, to form the second set in a writing series, following his previous book Storycraft. Each of its 12 chapters focuses on a particular aspect of successful writing, from method and process to voice and mechanics. “Hart’s approach to the writing process will engage you while you’re learning, console you when you’re stuck, and, best of all, inspire you to be a better writer,” praises bestselling author Susan Orlean.




Listening to People: A Practical Guide to Interviewing, Participant Observation, Data Analysis, and Writing It All Up by Annette Lareau

In a book due out this September, sociologist Annette Lareau aims to ease researchers’ anxiety with this in-depth guide to interviewing others – and, more importantly, really listening to what they have to say. “Annette Lareau has translated her expert research practice into an accessible and awesomely instructive book that covers interviewing and field work from conception to publication,” says Mary Pattillo, author of Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril Among the Black Middle Class.



On Revision: The Only Writing That Counts by William Germano

William Germano, professor and author of Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books and From Dissertation to Book, turns his instructional eye to the art of revision in this book, due out in early October. “All writers are, or should be, re-writers, Germano insists, and rewriting begins with rereading, with ‘listening’ to what your text wants to say. The advice compiled in this revelatory, generous book – tips on discovering or rediscovering your argument, on organizing its archive, on helping your readers identify its takeaways – will be useful for everyone from seasoned authors to dissertating graduate students,” asserts Loving Literature author Deirdre Lynch.