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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nancy Kress Rocks
Nancy Kress is an excellent teacher. I was one of her students at Clarion. But for writers who can't benefit from her teaching in person, they can read this book. I've been using it in my writing classes for two semesters and I love it.
Not only does she explain concepts clearly and concisely, but she has an excellent feel for presenting this information to the...
Published on Oct. 19 2003 by KTB

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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too 'literary' in orientation
My first impression of this book was that I was reading an English professor's view on writing. If Nancy Kress isn't an English professor she certainly should be but, unfortunately, that particular profession is more of a hindrance than help to a writer of good popular fiction.
On finishing the book, this suspicion was sustained by her constant reference to works of...
Published on Oct. 31 2002 by Don R Waterman


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nancy Kress Rocks, Oct. 19 2003
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
Nancy Kress is an excellent teacher. I was one of her students at Clarion. But for writers who can't benefit from her teaching in person, they can read this book. I've been using it in my writing classes for two semesters and I love it.
Not only does she explain concepts clearly and concisely, but she has an excellent feel for presenting this information to the beginning writer without confusing or talking down to them. Reading this book will probably put any beginning writer ahead of the game (as long as they incorporate what they learn into their own writing).
She gets into the mechanics of why stories and novels work (and don't) and how to make your own do the same. Buy this book, it's really worth it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny, Nov. 9 2003
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
I graduated recently with a degree in writing and picked this book up initally to see what it could offer in way of "education." I was very surprised by all it taught and was became disallusioned with the writing program at the university I attended. Very little of what Nancy Kress teaches was taught to my classmates and me. I intend to buy a copy for each of my soon-to-be graduated friends as a graduation gift because I know for a fact they will also benefit from this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough explanation of the subject., Oct. 29 2012
By 
Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
This review is based on my own personal experience of writing in the hope it will assist others.

I have been writing about scuba diving and shipwrecks for several years (my first piece appeared in 1978!), and my books have won awards. That genre, however, involves research where I describe history, facts, figures and, of course, whatever is found underwater.

For many years (yes years!) I have been working on a novel and am, therefore, fully aware that writing about Fiction is not as easy as it might appear - even for a modestly successful writer of non-Fiction. Fiction is not about an ability to tell a story. Instead, it requires the weaving of intrigue into everyday life so that the reader is compelled to continue. For example, a Memoirs or Biography is the retelling of a series of events - year by year, as they happened to the subject of the work and there cannot be scenes with actions or conversations in which that person was not present. No matter how interesting that life may have been, it simply does not translate into fiction without the addition of suspense and intrigue and these are skills which must be learned.

Every book has a beginning, a middle and an end and these must all be planned, worked out (and worked on!) in order to make the work unputdownable. In this book by Nancy Kress we have an explanation of the fundamental requirements of each of these three elements written in an easy-to-understand manner from which I have learned a great deal.

Laid out under three basic headings (Beginnings, Middles and Ending, of course!), the content is confined to three chapters under each heading with the final one in each case being a most useful `Help' section which really does work.

Might I suggest, therefore, any aspiring writer grabs notebook and pen and settles down to read this work from cover to cover making whatever notes are appropriate to either your own style or whatever work you are currently struggling with. I did exactly that and my Novel is much improved as a result.

Altogether, thoroughly recommended.

NM
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rating the Elements of Fiction Writing series, April 21 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
I've read all the books in the Elements of Fiction Writing series and this is how I'd rank them.
"Scene & Structure" "Characters & Viewpoint" "Beginnings, Middles & Ends"
The above three books are invaluable -- must reads. They are the best of the series, in my opinion, and are packed with good information on every page. Well-done.
"Conflict, Action & Suspense" "Description" "Plot" "Manuscript Submission" "Setting"
The above five books are good, solid reads. Again, they contain good information and cover the subject decently.
"Voice & Style" "Dialogue"
To me, the last two books need to be rewritten. They are by far the weakest of the series. Both suffer from an annoying style, particularly Dialogue, and both are very skimpy on real information. Neither one is very helpful.
This is the order in which I'd recommend reading them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to write, you need this book, Aug. 14 2002
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
The further into this book I read, the more impressed I become with Nancy Kress.
Many people don't understand the mechanics involved in writing a story. She "sits" the reader down and explains the best way to start a story from the first sentence. She then goes into the first scene, and even into the second scene! She explains the things necessary to include in a good opening, and also gives examples of poor ones. I find this approach to be the best way to hammer home the ideas.
She then goes into 'middles,' and later 'ends' of stories, and explains the best ways not to [upset] off your reader, by having a story, for example, where you spend six hundred pages falling in love with the main character, only to have him killed off on the last page for no reason. You pulled the old "bait and switch"!Your next book, having not even been published, just lost a reader!
I would rather have this book, than almost any other in my rather large collection.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book on writing with clear and concise instructions, June 24 2004
By 
HARRISON CHUA (Melbourne, AUSTRALIA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
This is a great book due to the fact that it allows a novice (or experienced) writer an insight into the mechanics of storytelling. There are exercises at the end of each chapter to enhance your novel or short story - which is very helpful in allowing a writer to look objectively at what he or she has written, to make the story well-written.
Recommendation: Buy it...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kress true to form, Dec 5 1999
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
Nancy Kress offers a professional insight into the real hardware of fiction writing. This award winning author maintains the voice of a master instructor whom beginning writers avidly seek when questing for practical writing advice. Those who have valued her advice in popular writing periodicals will be treated to a book size serving of enlightening writing strategies. In a series of books that make the reader often blurt, "Of course why didn't I think of that?" Kress suggest and points out many invaluable tools which bring a work of fiction together from its beginning to the middle all the way to the end. Everything about this book is . . . well for lack of better description, just right; arguably the best writer on the nuts and bolts of writing in the most practical series on writing in print today, perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yet, Jan. 25 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
I found this book to be extremely useful. I have many books that I look through in an attempt to improve my own writing, and of all of them, Kress' was the most useful. Even as I read it, I was able to think of ways to apply it to my own writing. Kress acknowledges that different writers do things different ways and takes that into account. She uses one example consistently throughout, which makes it easier for readers to understand how to apply what they are reading. She makes sure to use other examples as well, to show why it is important to do something a certain way, instead of simply stating that it is important and giving an all too brief explanation. I found this book so useful that I am going to look for more of Nancy Kress' books on writing technique.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable!, Jan. 18 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
This book, along with "Plot" by Ansen Dibbell and "Description" by Monica Wood are my favorites of the "Elements of Fiction" series by Writer's Digest Books.
Nancy Kress gives a clear and concise guide to keeping your momentum going when beginning a novel or short story. She offers practical advice on most, if not all, areas of fiction writing (e.g. characterization, plots, style). Best of all, she does all of this in an encouraging manner that makes you believe you *can* get through and eventually write the story you've envisioned in your mind.
I find her approach extremely helpful and as a result, I ended up buying her book on "Dynamic Characters" as well. I only wish she could write more fiction technique books!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Burn the other handbooks: this is all you need!, May 31 2003
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This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
If writing a story is like driving down a dark and windy road, and you are a bit unsure of yourself and your territory, this book is your flashlight and roadmap. What a relief! There are signs to show whether you are on the right path! There are bumpers to help guide you back on course when you veer off! Nancy Kress' book demystifies what it takes to write an effective story as well as the ways in which you can go about doing so. Effective use of examples and exercises, and keeps to the essentials. I have read the others, and they might be interesting, but they are not this! This book is your training wheels to writing good fiction. Thank you Nancy! I also highly recommend Idea Book by Jack Heffron for the abundant and rich prompts.
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Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends
Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress (Paperback - March 15 1999)
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