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4.9 out of 5 stars27
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on September 4, 2014
I am so lucky to find this book and so ease to use as well.
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on January 12, 2004
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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on April 15, 2016
Valuable guidelines on writing.
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on July 31, 2015
Great!
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on August 29, 2010
Kress's vigorous prose amplifies her uncommon wisdom. "Beginnings, Middles & Ends," is as fine a fiction writing manual as any.
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on April 20, 2010
Very good book for the price. Useful advice, although not extensive, and easy to read.
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on October 31, 2002
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 classical literature in examples. 'Classics' are, by my definition, works others think you SHOULD read, rather than those you would actually be likely to enjoy reading. Here are the other impressions I got from Beginnings, Middles, & Ends:
* There are several helpful hints and gems of writing wisdom in this book... but you'll have to wade a lot of slush to get to them.

* There is something inherently vague about her instructions for story writing. Apparently, this is because she is a 'go-with-the-flow' writer rather than someone who plans carefully beforehand. Would you buy a house from a contractor who planned to 'wing it' and then yank out all the plumbing and wiring if it didn't fit properly? Would you want to waste time and effort writing that way?
* I learned much more about the author from reading this than I did about writing fiction. Even though I am an avid fan of science fiction (30+ years of reading it) and that is apparently her genre of choice, after reading this book I feel quite certain I would not enjoy her style of writing... without ever having read a word of her SF.
In short, if you are looking for a real road map through the forest of fiction writing try 'The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing' (Evan Marshall) and 'Characters & Viewpoint' (Orson Scott Card) instead. If you are a sensitive connoisseur of literary art 'Beginnings, Middles & Ends' is definitely your book. But don't expect me to read your efforts.
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