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The Book You Need to Read to Write the Book You Want to Write

A Handbook for Fiction Writers

Sarah Burton Jem Poster



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Cambridge University Press
17 March 2022
Have you ever wanted to write a novel or short story but didn't know where to start? If so, this is the book for you. It's the book for anyone, in fact, who wants to write to their full potential. Practical and jargon-free, rejecting prescriptive templates and formulae, it's a storehouse of ideas and advice on a range of relevant subjects, from boosting self-motivation and confidence to approaching agents and publishers. Drawing on the authors' extensive experience as successful writers and inspiring teachers, it will guide you through such essentials as the interplay of memory and imagination; plotting your story; the creation of convincing characters; the uses of description; the pleasures and pitfalls of research; and the editing process. The book's primary aim is simple: to help its readers to become better writers.
By:   ,
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   New edition
Dimensions:   Height: 228mm,  Width: 154mm,  Spine: 16mm
Weight:   440g
ISBN:   9781009073738
ISBN 10:   1009073737
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sarah Burton currently teaches creative writing at Cambridge University's Institute for Continuing Education, on weekend courses, day schools, online courses and the International Summer Programme. Until 2017 she was Course Director of ICE's Master's programme in Creative Writing; she now convenes ICE's Writers' Retreats. She teaches fiction, non-fiction, writing for performance and writing for children and also writes in all these genres. With Jem Poster she also regularly runs courses for the Guardian Masterclass series and the Oxford Literary Festival. She is a Senior Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge. Sarah's publications are diverse, including two critically acclaimed biographies, Impostors: Six Kinds of Liar (Penguin, 2000) and A Double Life: a Biography of Charles and Mary Lamb (Penguin, 2003; shortlisted for the Mind Book of the Year award); a children's book, The Miracle in Bethlehem: A Storyteller's Tale (Floris Books, 2008); a page-to-stage guide, How to Put on a Community Play (Aurora Metro Books, 2011) and a spoof, The Complete and Utter History of the World By Samuel Stewart, Aged 9 (Short Books, 2013). Her debut novel, The Strange Adventures of H, was published by Legend Press in 2020. Jem Poster is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. He is the author of two novels, Courting Shadows (Sceptre, 2002) and Rifling Paradise (Sceptre, 2006), as well as a collection of poetry, Brought to Light (Bloodaxe, 2001), and editor of volume III in the six-volume Oxford University Press Edward Thomas: Prose Writings (2018). He has won prizes in major poetry competitions and has been Programme Advisor to (and tutor on) the Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education's MSt in Creative Writing; he is currently Director of ICE's International Summer Programme in Creative Writing. He is Director of Academic Programmes for the Oxford Literary Festival and, with Sarah Burton, a regular tutor in the Guardian Masterclass series.

Reviews for The Book You Need to Read to Write the Book You Want to Write: A Handbook for Fiction Writers

'I can't imagine there are any better books on the subject than this one.' Louis de Bernieres 'Reading The Book You Need... is like getting useful advice from your own personal mentor, one who is wise, experienced, encouraging, and delighted to share their encyclopedic knowledge of literary craft. For anyone who wants to be a better writer - listen carefully. The authors know what they're talking about.' Tara Ison, novelist; Professor of Fiction, Arizona State University 'Whether you are a beginner or an advanced fiction writer, this book is an essential companion. From getting started to navigating the publishing industry and all that falls between, The Book You Need... examines the key concepts necessary to write your own novel with practical, insightful and expert advice.' Tiffany Atkinson, poet; Professor of Poetry, University of East Anglia 'Years of teaching expertise condensed into one of the most comprehensive journeys through the craft that I've seen. This book teaches in the most natural way, guiding you under the surface of a wide range of good writing, deep into the practical processes that bring it to life.' Philip Gross, poet, winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize; Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing, University of South Wales 'A terrific guide to becoming a better writer and embarking upon a publishing career. Burton and Poster have created a masterclass in print - comprehensive, authentic, clear, and insightful. A pleasure to read and to learn from, this handbook is a must-have for anyone who loves and practices the writing craft.' Jewell Parker Rhodes, New York Times bestselling author, Founding Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, Arizona State University 'This is a fresh, insightful, engaging and enjoyable guide to writing creative prose. If you want to become a novelist or short story writer, reading this book is a great first step.' Francesca Rhydderch, novelist; Associate Professor in Creative Writing, Swansea University 'For any novelist, published or aspiring, this smart and concise book will become a true and trusted mentor and friend.' A. J. West

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