Nuance. Technique in Fiction is a must read because it teaches nuance.
It teaches much more. Just when I thought my brain had filled with as much technique and suggestion as possible, there’d be another bit that I had to write down and practice so I could remember it.
The basic takeaway is that authors should read this book after they’ve finished something big (novella, novel, novelette, noveletta, novina…okay, maybe not a novina) so they can figure out how to improve their writing during the rewrite/editing process. Story writers will also benefit provided they give themselves some down time between writing and editing so their minds can absorb what’s in these pages.
For myself, I was able to apply every chapter – almost every paragraph in some chapters! – to either a work I considered ready to send out or a work in progress. I know that can be disheartening; you thought you were through with a piece and now you have to go back to it. I was more than happy to return to pieces I’d long since retired as I learned how to fix them.
Let me offer some examples (probably obvious to you, palm-to-the-forehead to me):
- Dialogue should show relationship between characters
- Facial expressions as characterizations
- Courting behaviors as keys to character
- Five functions of place in a story
- Putting “And then?” and “Why?” into a story
- Questions to ask yourself to make sure your story is going somewhere
Excellent stuff and worth a read again and again and again.