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Creative Writer's Handbook, 5th edition

  • Philip K. Jason
  • Allan B. Lefcowitz

Published by Pearson (March 23rd 2009) - Copyright © 2010

5th edition

Creative Writer's Handbook

ISBN-13: 9780136050520

Includes: Paperback
Free delivery
$90.66 $113.32

What's included

  • Paperback

    You'll get a bound printed text.


This handbook is the perfect reference for beginning creative writers. It offers abundant illustrations, exercises, and useful techniques in all genres. While emphasizing problem-solving and the mastery of literary conventions, this handbook also takes the apprentice writer on a journey from inspiration to revision.

Table of contents



Anthology of Poems        


Preface to Fifth Edition                                                                 


Part I  A Writer’s Concerns                                                           

            Typical page from a journal                    


1      Working like a Writer                                                                  

Pleasure and Passion     0   ~    Attitudes  0  ~ The Writer Participates in Writing 0  ~  A Digression for the Classroom User   ~  On Being Unprofessional   ~  Working Habits   ~ A Word About Intentions  


2      Journal/Research/Invention                                                          

Why Keep a Journal?   

Your Journal    ~  What to Write in the Journal   ~  Getting Started   ~   Keeping Up   ~  What Will You Do with It All?    

The Relationship between Invention and Research

   Searching and Imagining  ~ A Word about Resources


3      Point of View                                                                                  

What Is It?  ~ Who Will Do the Telling?  ~ The Decision and Its Consequences  ~ The Range of Perspectives  ~ Third Person  ~ First Person,  

 “Sex Education” by  Dorothy Canfield Fisher


4      Language Is Your Medium                                                           

There Is No Such Thing as a Synonym   

Choosing Well   

Accuracy,  ~  Precision,  ~  Concreteness,  ~ Appropriateness,  ~ Idiomatic Usage,

Some Diction Problems     

Overwriting,  ~  Overmodification, ~   Saying It Twice,~  Excessive Variation ~,   Latinate Diction,  ~  Archaic Diction ~,   Sonic Boom ~,  Passives and Operators,

Figures of Speech  


Evoking Styles  ~ Incompatible Styles  ~ A Style Checklist 


Part II The Concerns of the Poet

          Typical submission for a poem


5      The Elements of Poetry                                                                  

The Nature of Poetry   ~ The Line   ~ The Line and Meter   ~ Lines and Rhymes  

The Line and Free Verse   ~ Lines in Combination   ~ Imagery    ~ Sound Patterns   ~



6      Practicing Poetry                                                                           

Imitation  ~ Fixed forms   ~ Memory Poem   ~ Formula Poems ~   Ritual Poems   ~ List Poems   ~ Dramatic Poems/Character Poems   ~ Event Poems  ~ Personification Poems  ~ Epistolary Poems   ~ Time Warp Poems  ~ Advice Poems  ~ Picture Poems   ~ Music Poems   ~ Poems on Poems  ~ Found Poems  154


7      Poetry Problems                                                                             

Out of Tune  ~ Archaic Diction   ~ The Anonymous Voice   ~ Appalling Abstraction   ~ Unintentional Humor   ~ Jarring Diction   ~ For the Sake of Rhyme   ~ The Clash of Poetic Elements   ~ Writing Past the Poem   ~ Treasure Burying   ~ Saying Too Much   ~ The False Start   ~ Punch-Line Endings   ~ Ineffective Line Break   ~ Out of Order   ~ Derivative Drivel  


Part III  The Concerns of the Storyteller

            Typical submission page for prose

8      The Elements of Fiction                                                                 

The Nature of Fiction  

Plot and What It Does  


Point of Attack  

Character and Characterization  

Action,  ~  Appearance,  ~ Thought  ~  Dialogue,  ~  Indirect Discourse,

 ~ Other Means,  ~ Functionaries and Stock Characters ~   Naming Character    ~  The

Relationship of Character, Plot, and Setting,

A Note on the Novel  


9    Narration and Its Techniques                                                        



Scene and Summary  



Needless Complication,  ~  Misuse of Dialogue,  ~ Sudden Comfort,  ~  Sudden Omniscience,  ~ Ping-Pong,  ~  Wrong Technique,  ~ Pogo Stick,  ~  Descriptive Clutter,  ~ Other Problems,


10    Creative Nonfiction                                                                        

The Nature of Creative Nonfiction  

How the Writer Convinces the Reader  

Exposure of Self,  ~  Testable Elements Hold Up  to the Test,  ~  Anecdotes Must Feel Universal,

Virtues in Nonfiction  

Problems in Creative Nonfiction  

Finding Materials  

    Reading,  ~ Exploring Yourself,  ~   Exploring Others,

“The Fact Behind the Facts” by Phillip Gerard,


11    Stories and Nonfiction                                                                   

“You Won’t Remember This “ by Kate Blackwell

 “A Very Short Story” by Ernest Hemingway  

“The Boarding House” by James Joyce  

 “Sunday in the Park” by Bel Kaufman  

“The First Day,” Edward Jones

“Just Married,” Tony Earley

“Chinese Medicine” by Hilary Tham  

“Grandmother’s Nose” by Robert Coover


Part IV  The Concerns of the Playwright

          Typical submission page for a play


12    The Elements of Drama                                                                

The Nature of Drama  

Storytelling with People and Things  

Characters   ~ Presenting Character   ~ Characters in Place and Time   ~ Setting  


13    Dialogue and Its Problems                                                       311

Dialogue: The Essence of Drama  

Principles and Common Errors  

Your Exposition Is Showing,  ~ Contractions and Formality,  ~  Interruptions and Other Ways of Creating Verisimilitude,  ~  Fake Dialogue or the Dialogue Dummy,   ~  Designators, or Stealing the Actors’ and Director’s Jobs,  ~  Long Speeches,  ~  

Grunting and Pausing,  ~  Accents, Dialect,and Verbal Tics,  ~  Swearing,  ~  Locker

Room Raillery,

The Day They Shot John Lennon by James McLure


14    Plays and Screen Plays                                                                 


Procedure by Joyce Carol Oates


Off Hand by Michel Wallerstein 


A Word on Plays for Film and Television  



Part V  The Writer’s Business


15    From Drafting to Revision to Submission                                      



When to Revise,   ~  How to Revise–Checklists for poetry, prose, and plays,  ~


Checking for Correctness,   ~ Facts   ~ Some Possible Problems   ~

Some Words About Proofreading  

Finding a Home for Your Work  

   Manuscript Form   ~ Publication Markets  ~ Play and Film Markets  ~

  Before You Write that Check  ~ Cover Letters  ~ A Manuscript Checklist   ~

  What About Copyright?  


Glossary of Key Terms                                                                  







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