Books by John M. Daniel
Structure, Style, and Truth
Elements of the Short Story
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THIS BOOK IS GUARANTEED TO HAND YOU A PULITZER PRIZE, A MILLION DOLLARS, AN OFFER FROM FARRAR STRAUS, A DISNEY OPTION, AND AN HOUR ON OPRAH
OR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT MAKES SHORT STORIES WORK
Short stories, arguably the oldest human art form, tell the truth by lying, explore the universe by looking within, and teach while they entertain. They can capture an insight in a way that helps us to see our lives and the world with fresh eyes. Short stories are a pleasure to read-and an even greater pleasure to create.
There is some question about whether or not good writing can be taught, or whether or not it can be learned from a book. Indeed, there are sceptics who believe that no rules exist for writing.
Most people would agree, though, that some stories work better than others, and that there are reasons why one story succeeds while another fails. Call those reasons or call those rules, we can write them down and we can read them, and if we think about them when we write our stories, we will write stories better.
That's what Structure, Style and Truth: Elements of the Short Story is about. Veteran writer/editor/publisher/teacher John M. Daniel shares his thoughts and his strong opinions in a friendly voice. He goes through a list of gathered wisdom about the nuts and bolts of good short fiction: structure, style, and truth. He devotes special attention to various common kinds of stories (autobiographical stories, social criticism, relationship fiction, humorous stories, experimental fiction, etc.). He ends with brief, no-nonsense advice on how to market short stories and find an audience.
Nobody who reads this small book will end up being a worse writer for it. Almost anyone who pays attention will become a better writer.
John Daniel has done the near-impossible. He took a life of writing, a career in publishing, years of teaching and put them into three words: structure, style, and truth. Which is, in fact, the title of his book, the worlds smallest writing book packed with basic hints.
a moral book people can believe in.
Susan Gulbransen, Santa Barbara News-Press
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