An orderly, no-frills guide to the craft of fiction writing.

Fiction-Writing Modes


Klaassen (Cracks, 2014, etc.) identifies 11 different aspects of writing fiction in this how-to manual.

The average reader is probably familiar with some of the elements of fiction creation (or “modes,” as Klaassen terms them): “exposition,” “narration,” “action.” Others may seem a bit harder to pin down—“introspection,” for example, or “recollection.” There are 11 in all, according to the author’s categorization, and he’s quick to point out that no other available system currently recognizes them all: “If you don’t know the eleven, you may be writing without all the tools available to you,” he says. “That’s the equivalent of a painter trying to create masterpieces with only a few colors.” He gives each mode its own chapter, or more than one: a full quarter of the book, for instance, is dedicated to the mysteries of “conversation.” The book compiles the modes into larger divisions of “interiority,” “activity,” “dialogue,” and “exteriority.” Each chapter breaks into subsections tackling smaller topics, with many examples and checklists to keep the information organized and aid readers’ comprehension. The book’s chapter content tables and concluding reiterations of major points make the work bear a greater resemblance to a textbook than to many other writing guides. The book is surprisingly comprehensive, given its relatively short length, and it dedicates sections to questions as specific as the use of slang and the difference between concrete and abstract nouns. There’s a lot of advice here that even experienced writers may not have encountered before (such as, “In part, the amount of description depends upon the genre in which you are writing”). By the time Klaassen gets to “show, don’t tell,” readers will have gotten their money’s worth many times over. Overall, this book sits at the Apollonian end of the spectrum of writing guides, as the author attempts to break fiction writing down into as replicable a craft as possible. Free-spirited writers may prefer the softer, more personal touches of Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg, but aspiring scribblers who want to quickly absorb the fundamentals of the medium will find Klaassen’s book to be a concise manual.

An orderly, no-frills guide to the craft of fiction writing.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68222-100-6

Page Count: 234

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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