The Craft of Fiction: How to become a novelist

by Jonathan Falla

I’ve been a professional author for thirty years, writing film and stage drama, three published novels, short stories and essays. The Craft of Fiction grew out of the St Andrews University summer school, of which I’m the teaching director. The school runs for a month, providing a thorough introduction to the skills of fiction.

 The book covers all the essential topics: narrative structure, character and conflict, plotting and dialogue, landscape and interior description, editing… and so on. There are numerous exercises, with examples ranging from the 14th century to the 21st, including novels, narrative poems, film… even painting. My emphasis is on strong narrative, in which every aspect of the writing contributes to the drive of the story – such that even a delicate, meditative tale can be a compelling read.

 Even if you are not actually writing, I hope you’ll find the book of interest as a study of how a professional novelist approaches his work.

 For details, please see: – my own website – the publishers of The Craft of Fiction – for a look at the Creative Writing Summer Programme.

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