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From First Word to Last–“Shut up and write.”

March 13, 2013

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From First Word to Last

by Arlene F. Marks

247 pages, $19.95

Publisher: Legacy Books Press Reference

A behind the scenes look at writing risks spoiling the magic trick (at least in my experience teaching high school and adult students), but for a writer it is essential learning.  My technique emphasizes the dynamics between characters in scenes, but many of Arlene Marks observations hold. This is what we need (at least the first three-quarters of the book, then it starts to seem pedantic).

I remember Stephen King’s book on writing, and despite my admiration for his early commitment (teaching school, living in a trailer, writing for hours each night after his busy day), I didn’t feel he was giving away any secrets. This book side-steps the personal but gives examples and principles that are eminently useful to would-be writers.

Useful, insightful, on target. For those wanting to write popular faction. This is the book that will help you.

Some gems:

“Most stories are judged to be good or bad depending on how successful they have been in touching the reader’s emotions.”

“If creativity is like an artesian spring, imagination is like a water table, sitting below the surface, constantly absorbing substances from the surrounding rocks and soil, waiting only to be discovered and tapped.”

“As an exercise, state the theme of a story as a reader looking for a message from the author.”

“Every character enters the story in character, doing something.”

“In real life, communication is more than just spoken words.”

“There are four important techniques that any writer must learn: natural delay, imposed delay, teasing and balancing.”

“Watch the first ten minutes of several dramatic television shows. Which of the devices mentioned in the preceding pages did each one use to try to ‘hook’ you into watching the entire program?”

4 out of 5Buy this directly from Amazon for $15.56.

Click: From First Word to Last: The Craft of Writing Popular Fiction

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