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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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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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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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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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, July 19 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
If I could only buy two books on writing fiction it would be this one, and Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages. Kress explains how to structure a novel in simple, understandable terms. She can steer you away from common mistakes and provide helpful solutions and suggestions for problems that can come up in your writing. Nancy Kress writes in a very approachable style. Buy this one, and Noah Lukeman's book and don't just read them, study them.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many to choose from. Get this one!, June 26 2003
By 
Peggy Vincent "author and reader" (Oakland, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
The 'how to write' shelves at bookstores groan beneath the weight of all the tomes written on the subject. How to choose, how to choose? Easy: choose this one. I'm primarily a nonfiction writer with a published memoir (BABY CATCHER: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, Scribner 2002), but I itch to write fiction. Like many writers of occasional fiction, I often have trouble with one aspect of the craft. For me, the middle of the stories comes easily, but I often have difficulty knowing how to begin - or, once begun, I can't figure out how to wrap it up with a believable ending.
This book, Beginnings, Middles & Ends, is a HUGE help at every step along the way.
Five stars and then some.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful guide for structuring a story, Dec 10 2003
By 
Gary Riley (Webster, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
This is a very useful guide on how short stories and novels should be structured from beginning to end. When you read fiction only for entertainment, it's easy to forget that there's as much craft involved in writing as there is creativity. It's hard to teach creativity, but a book like this can be really helpful in recognizing the conventions that most well written books follow. Some of these conventions seem fairly obvious when you read about them, such as providing sufficient motivation to show why a character changes during a story and delivering at the end of the story the implied promises made at the beginning, yet I've read a lot of published fiction that could have benefitted from the advice in this book.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book, Jan. 12 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
I picked this book up hoping it would show me how to get unstuck when I'm in the middle of working on what will be my first manuscript. It didn't disappoint. I've never spent time trying to learn the craft of writing before, and while some of the book was just making me realize things I already knew but didn't think about, there was just allot of good information in this book. Kress seemed to be preaching in a few places, but I may have been reading to much into it. All in all, I would highly recommend this book to any beginning writer. Theres allot of great info and it's well worth the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars helpful, May 31 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Elements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Paperback)
I've only read the first chapter but it has already been a great help to me. It's a sort of like a user friendly text book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Burn the other handbooks: this is all you need!, May 31 2003
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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