The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction, Volume 1: Building Blocks

Building Blocks: the joys, frustrations, struggles, and achievements of the literary life.
Publish date:

Buy book | Amazon  |

Image placeholder title

The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction
Volume1: Building Blocks
Edited by Susan Burmeister-Brown and Linda B. Swanson-Davies
Writer's Digest Books, 2006
ISBN 978-1-58297-446-0
$19.99 hardcover, 448 pages

Read an Excerpt
Get expert insight in "Beginnings," chapter 9 of The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction, Volume 1: Building Blocks featuring Ron Carlson, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Siri Hustvedt, Andrea Barrett, Doris Lessing, and Pam Durban.

Or, download all of chapter 9as a PDF.

About the Book
Many writing books offer instruction and inspiration, but never before has one pulled back the curtains and laid bare before you the joys, frustrations, struggles, and achievements of the literary life—as experienced by more than one hundred accomplished writers. In excerpts from interviews conducted over a sixteen-year period, and preserved by the ediotrs of the highly respected literary quarterly Glimmer Train Stories and its newsletter Writers Ask, contemporary writers who rarely discuss their craft present you with eye-opening techniques, diverse perspectives, and genuine encouragement—the kind of wisdom earned only from years at the writing desk.

  • Julia Alvarez
  • Edwidge Danicat
  • Robert Olen Butler
  • Sandra Cisneros
  • Andre Dubus
  • Ernest Gaines
  • Jamaica Kincaid
  • Antonya Nelson
  • Tim O'Brien
  • Ann Patchett
  • Annie Proulx
  • Tobias Wolff

The voices of these authors and many others resonate from the pages—sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, but always illuminating. A thorough treatment of craft and accessibility to engaging authors make Building Blocks—the first volume in this exquisite new series—the perfect guidebook for your writing life.


Making the Switch from Romance to Women’s Fiction

In this article, author Jennifer Probst explains the differences between romance and women's fiction, the importance of both, and how you can make the genre switch.


Stephanie Wrobel: On Writing an Unusual Hero

Author Stephanie Wrobel explains how she came to write about mental illness and how it affects familial relationships, as well as getting inside the head of an unusual character.


Who Are the Inaugural Poets for United States Presidents?

Here is a list of the inaugural poets for United States Presidential Inauguration Days from Robert Frost to Amanda Gorman. This post also touches on who an inaugural poet is and which presidents have had them at their inaugurations.


Precedent vs. President (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use precedent vs. president with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 554

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a future poem.


New Agent Alert: Tasneem Motala of The Rights Factory

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Tasneem Motala of The Rights Factory) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.


Timothy Miller: The Alluring Puzzle of Fact and Fiction

Screenwriter and novelist Timothy Miller explains how he came to write historical fiction and how research can help him drive his plot.


Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido: Entertainment and Outrage

Authors Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido explain how they came to co-write their novel and why it's important to them that the readers experience outrage while reading.