MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction (Headline Books, 2011) is an amazing anthology of instructional articles for fiction writers looking for advice on how to improve their writing and better navigate the mass market for genre novels.
Sure, lots of how-to books are out there already, offering to help writers improve. Ours is different. Here's what makes MANY GENRES unique:
This book is like a genre writer's workshop in a bottle! Every contributor to this book is a seasoned veteran in the industry or a hot new writer...and many are bestsellers who have won multiple literary awards for their potent and entertaining genre fiction.
But more than that, these contributors know how to teach genre fiction. They are all trained teachers, visiting authors, or published alums from the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program offered by Seton Hill University -- the only grad school dedicated to writing commercially-viable genre novels of quality.
(But this is no stuffy textbook...MANY GENRES is full of chatty advice from writers who love to tell stories in their genres, and are passionate about passing on their practical wisdom and strategies for success.)
The book is a hefty volume, with over 130,000 words devoted to genre fiction writing. It is divided into three parts, with an average of 20 articles about each: CRAFT, GENRE, and THE WRITER'S LIFE:
The GENRE section includes an array of articles about each popular genre in the marketplace: romance, Women's fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, suspense thriller, mystery, children's and young adult. There are even articles on manga to magic realism, short fiction to media tie-in books. And broader discussions of genre, the marketplace and originality. Whether you want to specialize in one genre, write for several, or develop cross-genre hybrid fiction, this book will help.
The CRAFT section looks at each element of fiction (character, plot, setting, etc.) with plenty of examples from genre texts, with smart tips on how to revise and self-edit in order to satisfy editors in the commercial marketplace.
The section on THE WRITER'S LIFE offers practical advice on how to maximize your genre writing career, with essays on learning (workshops, grad school, research), working (time management, finding an agent, landing a teaching job) and promoting (reviews, press release, guerilla marketing, and genre conventions).
The scope of the book is stunningly wide, with articles ranging from "How to Get an Agent" to "The Element of Surprise in Horror, Thriller and Mystery fiction" to "Put a Little Love in Your Plot." You'll learn about how to craft great opening lines, how to handle "alpha male" characters, and how to run a Virtual Book Tour...and much more.
The book's 65 contributors are the voices you trust from the bestseller lists and new writers with something fresh to say about the unique needs for the genre marketplace today.
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MANY GENRES ONE CRAFT is a brilliant and insightful must-have book for any writer, from newbie to working pro. Highly recommended!
--Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of THE KING OF PLAGUES and PATIENT ZERO
Finally! A book on writing category fiction, presented by those who do it every day. Choose a genre and jump right in.
--Mike Resnick, Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author
MANY GENRES has everything you need to write and sell the book of your dreams. It is jam-packed with practical information, clear examples and brilliant insights, all delivered with clarity and wit. Skip the writers’ conference and read this gem from the masters of genre fiction!
--Suzanne Forster, New York Times bestselling author
"Speaking from experience, I can tell you there isn't a muse and if there is, she's already dating someone else." If there isn't a muse, as you'll read in this invaluable book for writers, MANY GENRES ONE CRAFT is surely the next best thing. No matter what you want to learn--from choosing the point of view for a scene, from getting the most out of a critique group to fine-tuning your final draft, from approaching a literary agent to promoting your published book in print or electronically or both--it's all there. The contributors know their stuff, and what they're teaching applies to writing at any age. MANY GENRES ONE CRAFT covers all the bases superbly, including issues I haven't seen addressed anywhere else in today's rapidly shifting publishing landscape.
--Renni Browne, co-author of SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS
Fellow writers—this is for you. MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: LESSONS IN WRITING POPULAR FICTION is a treasure chest full of instruction, advice, tips, and wisdom for aspiring writers.
--Patricia B. Tighe, YA author
This book is wonderful, and I can’t gush enough about the thought that went into each section, from writing children’s fiction to the heart-stopping romance! Granted, we all need our muse that taunts and teases us with our storylines–sometimes, though, she needs a good push from an excellent guidebook of her own!
--Tamela Quijas, author of BLOOD MOON and BLOOD OF THE BEAST
At a time where not everyone can afford numerous books to help their writing, there is a need for an all-purpose book. This is it and probably the best one out there. But it is also something else. It is a testament to the fact that no genre is better, more special, or more worthy than any other. Literature is literature and its practitioners must have all the same skills to be successful and entertaining to the world audience.
--W. D. Prescott, author of "The Tethering" and "January"
An extensive and inspirational book filled with lots of practical advice for any writer at any stage in his or her career, MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: LESSONS IN WRITING POPULAR FICTION is one of those books that writers just have to have on their shelves. Unlike many of the courses and books bandied about online, this book features practical and realistic advice and tips from writers who have managed to build prolific and solid careers stretching back decades. No matter your particular writing interest, the information in this book will not only be specific to that interest, but to the craft of writing as a whole. Simply put –this is an excellent book that you must have and use.
--Kevin Tipple, Blogger News Network
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TABLE OF CONTENTSTo read excerpts, scroll over the titles and click on the links!
Putting our Heads Together: An Introduction to Many Genres, One Craft by Michael A. Arnzen
STYLE AND PROCESS
You Have To Start With Something, So It Might As Well Be Something Like This by Gary Braunbeck
Don't Be a Bobble-Head, and Other Bits of Guidance by Timons Esaias
Tuning Up Your Writing by Michael A. Arnzen
Dumping the Info Dump by Maria V. Snyder
Powerman Writes Women's Fiction: On Writing What You Know by Matt Duvall
Your Very First Editor by Lee Allen Howard
Make Revising Work for You, Not Against You by Adrea L. Peters
Perfect Disaster: Don't Let Perfectionism Squash Your Creativity by Anne Harris
CHARACTER AND DIALOGUE
M&Ms for Characters by Sharon Mignerey
Tough Love: Make Your Protagonist Suffer by Randall Silvis
Be an Archetype, Not a Stereotype by Heidi Ruby Miller
Going Deeper: Point of View beyond the Basics by W. H. Horner
A Helpful Tactic: The Template Text by Timons Esaias
Empowering Female Characters by Barbara J. Miller
PLOT AND STRUCTURE
Demystifying What Editors Want by Venessa Giunta
Give Your Reader Whiplash: Pacing in Fiction by KJ Howe
Pick Up the Pace by Tim Waggoner
Deus Ex Machina Undergoing Repairs: Save Your Characters by Letting Them Save Themselves by Mike Mehalek
Blurring the Line: How Reality Helps Build Better Fiction by Scott A. Johnson
Put a Little Love in Your Plot: The Perks and Perils of Romantic Subplots by Ron Edison
Prevention: Techniques to Control Romance by Ron Edison
Setting as a Character: It's More than a Backdrop by Susan Crandall
Painting Your Setting with Concrete Nouns by Jason Jack Miller
Setting Limits: Working in Small Spaces by Jason Jack Miller
Writing from Place across Cultures by Karen Lynn Williams
Set in History by M. A. Mogus
GENRE AND ORIGINALITY
Genre Unleashed by Michael A. Arnzen
No Such Thing as Original Sin by Thomas F. Monteleone
I Write Genre Fiction But Want to Be a Real Writer Someday by John DeChancie
Readers Resent Change by Tess Gerritsen
ROMANCE AND WOMEN'S FICTION
Write from the Heart by Crystal B. Bright
Creating My Niche in Romantic Suspense by Dana Marton
Heroes in Romance by Barbara J. Miller
Talking about Dialogue by Natalie Duvall
A Serious Look at the Funny Bone by Elaine Ervin
Tomorrow's Kiss: The Duality of SF Romance by Heidi Ruby Miller
SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
Building Science Fiction and Fantasy Worlds by Nancy Kress
Description on the Edge: The Sublime in Science Fiction by Albert Wendland
Cyberpunk Remastered: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Postmodernism by K. Ceres Wright
The Brass Tacks of Steampunk by Christopher Paul Carey
To Dream a Dragon by Rachael Pruitt
Sex, Death, and Chocolate in the Middle Ages: Adding Realism to Your Fantasy by Russ Howe
HORROR, MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE THRILLERS
Ruining Everything: Tips for Plotting a Mystery by Victoria Thompson
Talking the Talk in Crime (and Other) Fiction by David Shifren
The Element of Surprise: Psyching-out Readers of Horror, Mystery and Suspense by Michael A. Arnzen
Making Modern Monsters by Michael A. Arnzen
Dark and Story Nights: Mood and Atmosphere in Horror by Mary SanGiovanni
The Shifting Grail: A Quest for a Good Read by Heidi Ruby Miller
To Thine Own Self Be True: Five Pieces of Advice for Potential Thriller Writers by David Morrell
CHILDREN'S AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION
Ten Ways to Avoid Losing Your YA Reader by Patrice Lyle
Linking Past to Present by C. Coco DeYoung
Keeping It Real: Mixing Truth and Fiction in YA by Jennifer Brisendine
And The Award Goes To… by Teffanie Thompson White
If You Write It, They Will See It: Picture Book Illustrations from the Writer's POV by Karen Lynn Williams
I Write Short Stories by Michael Bracken
Magical Realism as Genre: Or, Waiter, There's an Angel in My Soup by Jason Jack Miller
Essential Magical Realism by Jason Jack Miller
The Manga Explosion by Sally Bosco
From Far East to West by Sally Bosco
A Primer for Writing Media Books by Steven Piziks
THE WRITER'S LIFE
Lessons from the Vampire Slayer by Catherine Mulvany
Pursuing the Graduate Degree by Chun Lee
The Pot-Bellied Pig Method of Critiquing by Kaye Dacus
Working the Workshop: How to Get the Most Out of Critique Groups (Even the Bad Ones) by Michael A. Arnzen
Writing More by Susan Mallery
One Writer, Many Genres by Ryan M. Williams
Time Management: Creative Paths to Productivity by Lee McClain
Nearly Finished by Nicole Peeler
The Seven Habits that Got Me Published by Shelley Bates
How to Get an Agent by Ginger Clark
eFabulous: Publishing in a Paperless World by Penny Dawn
The Teaching Writer by Lawrence C. Connolly
Teaching Young Writers by Diane Turnshek
Where Do I Go from Here? Being Orphaned by Leslie Davis Guccione
Getting Your Words Out: The Basics of Promoting Your Fiction by Rebecca Baker
I'll Scratch Your Back and You Promote My Book by Heidi Ruby Miller
Touring Virtually by Heidi Ruby Miller
To Be Reviewed or Not to Be Reviewed by Lynn Salsi
Successful Book Signings: The Personal Touch by David J. Corwell
The Top Ten Excuses People Give… by David J. Corwell
Guerrilla Marketing: The Reality of Selling Your Book by Patrick Picciarelli
Networking at Conventions by Lucy A. Snyder
Persist! by Michael A. Arnzen
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
Related How-To Books: A Bibliography
References: In Print, Websites and Other Media
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