Beginnings, Middles, & Ends

Elements of Fiction Writing: Beginnings, Middles, & Ends
by Nancy Kress
Writer’s Digest Books, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-59963-219-3
ISBN-10: 1-59963-219-5
$14.99 paperback, 176 pages

Buy the Book!
Find out how to hook readers, agents, and editors from the first words in this excerpt from Chapter 1: The Very Beginning: Your Opening Scene.
Award-winning novelist Nancy Kress shares her insights into the writing life and her advice for writers.
About the Book
Get your readers’ attention—and keep it—from the first word to the final page.Translating that initial flash of inspiration into a complete story requires careful crafting. So how do you keep your story from beginning slowly, floundering midway, and trailing off at the end? Nancy Kress shows you effective solutions for potential problems at each stage of your story—essential lessons for strong start-to-finish storytelling.
  • Hook readers, agents, and editors in the first three paragraphs.
  • Make and keep your story’s implicit promise to the reader.
  • Build drama and credibility by controlling your prose.
  • Consider the price a writer pays for flashbacks.
  • Reveal character effectively throughout your story.
Get the tools you need to get your story off to an engaging start, keep the middle tight and compelling, and make your conclusion high impact. You’ll also find dozens of exercises to help strengthen your short story or novel. Let this resource be your guide to successful stories—from the first word to the last.
About the Author
Nancy Kress is the author of twenty-eight books: three about writing and the rest, fiction of various genres. Her work has garnered her four Nebula Awards and two Hugo Awards. For sixteen years she was the fiction columnist for Writer’s Digest magazine, and now frequently teaches writing at various venues around the country. Nancy lives in Seattle with writer Jack Skillingstead and Cosette, the world’s most spoiled toy poodle.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Story in Your Head
PART I: Beginnings
CHAPTER 1 The Very Beginning: Your Opening Scene
CHAPTER 2 The Later Beginning: Your Second Scene
CHAPTER 3 Help for Beginnings: Early Revision
PART II: Middles
CHAPTER 4 The Middle: Staying on Track
CHAPTER 5 Under Development: Your Characters at Midstory
CHAPTER 6 Help for Middles: Getting Unstuck
PART III: Endings
CHAPTER 7 Satisfying Endings: Delivering on the Promise
CHAPTER 8 The Very End: Last Scene, Last Paragraph, Last Sentence
CHAPTER 9 Help for Endings: The Last Hurrah 
Exclusive Q&A With Nancy Kress 

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