Craft Book Spotlight – Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

This mega-popular craft book is now in its 10th edition.

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet BurrowayIf you’ve ever studied creative writing, there’s a good chance you’ve already come across Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. It’s “the most widely used creative writing text in America,” according to its publisher, The University of Chicago Press, and it’s sold more than a quarter million copies worldwide. 

The Writer praised a previous edition, writing that “Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft is one of the most widely used textbooks in fiction-writing classes across the country. Universally praised by teachers, students, and fellow writers, it takes you through the process of creating a narrative, covering everything from getting started with journaling to strategies for revision.”

The book’s 10th edition, published in late April, promises readers new topics, examples, and writing prompts. Each chapter also now closes with recommended selections for further reading. For example, a section on characterization recommends writers seek out Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl,” Karen Russell’s “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” and Jim Shepard’s “Love and Hydrogen;” a chapter on POV recommends Gish Jen’s “Who’s Irish?” and George Sanders’s “Victory Lap,” among others. (Previous editions included full works in an anthology format, but Burroway and her collaborators Elizabeth and Ned Stuckey-French decided to omit the anthology component in this edition to avoid paying permission fees and thus make Writing Fiction more affordable for students.)

Burroway is the author of plays, poetry, essays, and numerous books, including The Buzzards and Bridge of Sand. She also teaches at Florida State University along with her co-authors Elizabeth Stuckey-French and Ned Stuckey-French.

“To imagine what is not immediately present allows us spirituality, nationhood, commerce, and law, and it is of course the essence of story. To write better and better stories may promote cooperation, gender equality, and the cementing of social bonds,” Burroway writes in the introduction. “…It is good for a full-blooded life and good for the culture that human beings should continue to study the craft of fiction. I hope Writing Fiction will aid that study for many years to come.”

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