A Kite in the Wind is an anthology of essays by 20 veteran writers and master teachers. While the contributors offer specific, practical advice on such fundamental aspects of craft as characterization, character names, the first person point of view, and unreliable narrators, they also give extended, thoughtful consideration to more sophisticated topics, including "imminence," or the power of a sense of beginning; creating and maintaining tension; "lushness"; and the deliberate manipulation of information to create particular effects.The essays in A Kite in the Wind begin as personal investigations - attempts to understand why a decision in a particular story or novel seemed unsuccessful; to define a quality or problem that seemed either unrecognized or unsatisfactorily defined; to understand what, despite years of experience as a fiction writer, resisted comprehension; and to pursue haunting, even unanswerable questions.Unlike a how-to book, the anthology is less an instruction manual than it is an intimate visit with twenty very different writers as they explore topics that excite, intrigue, and even puzzle them. Each discussion uses specific examples and illustrations, including both canonical stories and novels and writing less frequently discussed, from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, by both American and international authors.The contributors share their hard-earned insights for beginning and advanced writers with humility, wit, and compassion. The first section of the book focuses on narration, with particular attention paid to various kinds of narrators; the second, on strategic creation and presentation of character; the third, on some of the roles of the visual, beginning with establishing setting; and the fourth, on structural and organizational issues, from movement through time to the manipulation of information to create mystery and suspense.
In Maps of the Imagination, Peter Turchi posits the idea that maps help people understand where they are in the world in the same way that literature, whether realistic or experimental, attempts to explain human realities. The author explores how writers and cartographers use many of the same devices for plotting and executing their work, making crucial decisions about what to include and what to leave out, in order to get from here to there, without excess baggage or a confusing surplus of information. Turchi traces the history of maps, from their initial decorative and religious purposes to their later instructional applications. He describes how maps rely on projections in order to portray a three-dimensional world on the two-dimensional flat surface of paper, which he then relates to what writers do in projecting a literary work from the imagination onto the page.
With his characteristic genius for finding connections between writing and the stuff of our lives, Peter Turchi ventures into new and even more surprising territory. In A Muse and a Maze, Turchi draws out the similarities between writing and puzzle-making and its flip-side, puzzle-solving. As he teases out how mystery lies at the heart of all storytelling, he uncovers the magic-the creation of credible illusion-that writers share with the likes of Houdini and master magicians. In Turchi's associative narrative, we learn about the history of puzzles, their obsessive quality, and that Benjamin Franklin was a devotee of an ancient precursor of sudoku called Magic Squares. Applying this rich backdrop to the requirements of writing, Turchi reveals as much about the human psyche as he does about the literary imagination and the creative process.
This big, beautiful anthology of short fiction is for readers, writers, and anyone curious about the mysterious processes of literary minds. All contributors have been recent faculty members of the prestigious Warren Wilson Low Residency Program, including such literary favorites as Margot Livesey, Charles Baxter, Robert Boswell, Jim Shepard, Antonya Nelson, David Shields, and the editors themselves. Each writer was asked to submit an original story, accompanied by an essay describing the challenges of the story and how they were met. Since writers resist herding, the editors were happily surprised by the wide range of essays "fiction writers, when given the space, think about their work very differently. " We learn about the genesis of a story, how story evolves, what was eventually relinquished and why, and how a story surprisingly might "insist" on changing. Arranged alphabetically by author, and beginning with Richard Russo's cogent introduction, this volume is a treasure throughout.
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