Publish date:

Write Like the Masters

Improve your writing by learning techniques from history's greatest writers.
Author:


Write Like the Masters
By William Cane
Writer’s Digest Books, 2009
ISBN 978-1-58297-592-4
$19.99, hardcover, 288 pages

Buy Now

Digital Download also available

Read an Excerpt
Learn to keep your sentences lean like Hemingway with this excerpt from Chapter 12 of Write Like the Masters.

Read a Q&A with the author

William Cane discusses his book, the art of rhetorical imitation and the writing that inspires him.

Image placeholder title

About the Book
Time and time again you’ve been told to find your own unique writing style, as if it were as simple as pulling it out of thin air. But finding your voice isn’t easy, so where better to look than to the greatest writers of our time?

Write Like the Masters analyzes the writing styles of twenty-one great novelists including Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka, George Orwell, Edith Wharton, Flannery O’Connor, and Ray Bradbury. This fascinating and insightful guide shows you how to imitate the masters of literature and, in the process, learn advanced writing secrets to fire up your own work.

You’ll discover:

• Herman Melville’s secrets for creating memorable characters
• How to master point of view with techniques from Fyodor Dostoevsky
• Ways pick up the pace by keeping your sentences lean like Ernest Hemingway
• The importance of sensual details from James Bond creator Ian Fleming
• How to add suspense to your story by following the lead of the master of horror, Stephen King

Whether you’re working on a unique voice for your next novel or you’re a composition student toying with different styles, this guide will help you gain insight into the work of the masters through the rhetorical technique of imitation. Filled with practical, easy-to-apply advice, Write Like the Masters is your key to understanding and using the proven techniques of history’s greatest authors.

About the Author
William Cane has had a distinguished career as a professor of English at CUNY and Boston College, where he helped a generation of students improve their prose by imitating great writers. Cane is the author of six books, including the international bestseller The Art of Kissing. A highly sought-after speaker on the college lecture circuit, he has appeared on almost every major television talk show, including Today, The View, and CBS This Morning. He lives in Jersey City with his wife and daughter.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1: Write Like Honoré de Balzac
Chapter 2: Write Like Charles Dickens
Chapter 3: Write Like Herman Melville
Chapter 4: Write Like Fyodor Dostoevsky
Chapter 5: Write Like Knut Hamsun
Chapter 6: Write Like Edith Wharton
Chapter 7: Write Like W. Somerset Maugham
Chapter 8: Write Like Edgar Rice Burroughs
Chapter 9: Write Like Franz Kafka
Chapter 10: Write Like D.H. Lawrence
Chapter 11: Write Like William Faulkner
Chapter 12: Write Like Ernest Hemingway
Chapter 13: Write Like Margaret Mitchell
Chapter 14: Write Like George Orwell
Chapter 15: Write Like Ian Fleming
Chapter 16: Write Like J.D. Salinger
Chapter 17: Write Like Ray Bradbury
Chapter 18: Write Like Flannery O’Connor
Chapter 19: Write Like Philip K. Dick
Chapter 20: Write Like Tom Wolfe
Chapter 21: Write Like Stephen King
Conclusion
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
INDEX

4 Tips on Research for Writing Novels and Stories Beyond Getting the Facts Right

4 Tips on Research for Writing Novels and Stories Beyond Getting the Facts Right

The kind of research you do can make or break your story's authenticity. Author Blake Sanz offers 4 tips on research for your novels and stories beyond getting the facts right.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Annual Writing Competition Early-Bird Deadline, Seven WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce the Annual Writing Competition early-bird deadline, seven WDU courses starting this week, and more!

3 Big Tips for Writing a Children’s Picture Book Like a Pro

3 Big Tips for Writing a Children’s Picture Book Like a Pro

Small but mighty, picture books help raise children into lifelong readers. Children's book author Diana Murray offers 3 big tips for writing a picture book like a pro.

5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

Lessons in writing can come from various forms of art or entertainment. Author Alverne Ball shares 5 things he learned about writing from watching soap operas.

From Script

Writing from an Intimate Point of View and Adding Essential Elements to Solidify Your Screenplay (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, TV writer Kate Sargeant shares a first-hand look on her new digital series that was a life-changing experience. Plus an interview with filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve, a new installment from ‘Ask the Coach’ and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice but Never Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice (but Never Writing)

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is to collect writing advice at the expense of actually writing.

The Benefits of a Book Coach for Writers

The Benefits of Having a Book Coach for Writers

What is a book coach? How could they help authors? Award-winning author and writing instructor Mark Spencer answers these questions and more in this post about the benefits of having a book coach for writers.

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Award-winning author Clare Chambers discusses the fear and excitement of switching genre gears in her new historical fiction novel, Small Pleasures.

Poetic Forms

Exquisite Corpse: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the exquisite corpse (or exquisite cadaver), a collaborative poem that would make a fun poetic game.