On Writing Fiction

Rethinking conventional wisdom about the craft of writing fiction. 
Author:
Publish date:


On Writing Fiction
Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft
by David Jauss
Writer's Digest Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-159963-262-9
$14.99, paperback, 256 pages

Image placeholder title

Read an excerpt
Author David Jauss discusses what writers mean by "flow" in this excerpt from On Writing Fiction.

About the book

The pieces of a satisfying novel or story seem to fit together so effortlessly, so seamlessly, that it’s easy to find yourself wondering, “How on earth did the author do this?” The answer is simple: He sat alone at his desk, considered an array of options, and made smart, careful choices.

In On Writing Fiction, award-winning author and respected creative writing professor David Jauss offers practical information and advice that will help you make smart creative and technical decisions about such topics as:

• Writing prose with syntax and rhythm to create a “soundtrack” for the narrative
• Choosing the right point of view to create the appropriate degree of “distance” between your characters and the reader
• Harnessing the power of contradiction in the creative process

In one thought-provoking essay after another, Jauss sorts through unique fiction-writing conundrums, including how to create those exquisite intersections between truth and fabrication that make all great works of fiction so much more resonant than fiction that follows the “write what you know” approach that’s so often used.

David Jauss is … a master, and this book grants its readers—you who desire to know what it means to write—an invaluable course of study, all at the hands of this extraordinary teacher, writer, and human.
—Bret Lott, author of Jewel, A Song I Knew by Heart, Ancient Highway, and other books

Where Are the Toxic Families in Children's Books?

Where Are the Toxic Families in Children's Books?

Christina Wyman discusses how for children who suffer difficult family dynamics, seeing their experiences reflected in books is few and far between.

the island

The Island

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, build yourself an island.

Nawaaz Ahmed: On Personal Identity in Literary Fiction

Nawaaz Ahmed: On Personal Identity in Literary Fiction

Nawaaz Ahmed discusses how his personal experiences acted as the impetus for his new book, Radiant Fugitives, and how it went from novella to novel.

Comedy vs. Comity (Grammar Rules)

Comedy vs. Comity (Grammar Rules)

There's nothing funny about learning when to use comedy and comity (OK, maybe a little humor) with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Shugri Said Salh: On Writing the Coming-Of-Age Story

Shugri Said Salh: On Writing the Coming-Of-Age Story

Debut author Shugri Said Salh discusses how wanting to know her mother lead her to writing her coming-of-age novel, The Last Nomad.

100 Ways to Buff Your Book

100 Ways to Buff Your Book

Does your manuscript need a little more definition, but you’re not sure where to begin? Try these 100 tips to give your words more power.

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson discusses how she never gave up on her story, how she worked through internal doubts, and how research lead her out of romance and into historical fiction.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Seven New Courses, Writing Prompts, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new courses, our Editorial Calendar, and more!

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.