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Books from my College Writing Class


The road to rejection is paved with bad beginnings. Agents and editors agree: Improper story beginnings are the single biggest barrier to publication. Why? If a novel or short story has a bad beginning, then no one will keep reading. It's just that simple. In Hooked, author Les Edgerton draws on his experience as a successful fiction writer and teacher to help you overcome the weak openings that lead to instant rejection by showing you how to successfully use the ten core components inherent to any great beginning. You'll find:

  • Detailed instruction on how to develop your inciting incident

  • Keys for creating a cohesive story-worthy problem

  • Tips on how to avoid common opening gaffes like overusing backstory

  • A rundown on basics such as opening scene length and transitions

  • A comprehensive analysis of more than twenty great opening lines from novels and short stories Plus, you'll discover exclusive insider advice from agents and acquiring editors on what they look for in a strong opening. With Hooked, you'll have all the information you need to craft a compelling beginning that lays the foundation for an irresistible story!


Write Scenes that Move Your Story Forward

In Make a Scene, author Jordan E. Rosenfeld takes you through the fundamentals of strong scene construction and explains how other essential fiction-writing techniques, such as character, plot, and dramatic tension, must function within the framework of individual scenes in order to provide substance and structure to the overall story. You'll learn how to:

  • Craft an opening scene that hooks readers and foreshadows supporting scenes

  • Develop various scene types - from the suspenseful to the dramatic to the contemplative - that are distinct and layered

  • Tailor character and plot around specific scene types to better convey the nuances of your storyline

  • Create resonating climactic and final scenes that stay with readers long after they've finished your work


Get your stories off to a roaring start.

Keep them tight and crisp throughout.

Conclude them with a wallop.

Is the story or novel you've been carrying around in your head the same one you see on the page? Or does the dialogue suddenly sound flat and predictable? Do the events seem to ramble?

Translating a flash of inspiration into a compelling story requires careful crafting. The words you choose, how you describe characters, and the way you orchestrate conflict all make the difference—the difference between a story that is slow to begin, flounders midway, or trails off at the end—and one that holds the interest of readers and editors to the final page.

By demonstrating effective solutions for potential problems at each stage of your story, Nancy Kress will help you...

• Hook the editor on the first three paragraphs

• Make—and keep—your story's "implicit promise"

• Build drama and credibility by controlling your prose

Dozens of exercises help you strengthen your short story or novel. Plus, you'll sharpen skills and gain new insight into...

• The price a writer pays for flashbacks

• Six ways characters should "reveal" themselves

• Techniques for writing—and rewriting

Let this working resource be your guide to successful stories—from beginning to end.

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