The Craft of Fiction
Who else wants to write a best seller?
What lies at the beating heart of this book is the belief that good writing can be taught and this is what this book sets out to do.
- teaches skills of storytelling:
- explains finding stories, narrative structures, plots, building tension, characterisation, descriptions of place and time, dialogue, editing.
- provides examples from classic and modern fiction (and including films), with points for consideration and exercise.
The author is a prize-winning literary novelist and dramatist with wide experience of teaching CW students, and mentoring aspiring writers.
About the author
is a prolific author and playwright. He has written scripts for a theatre group & schools. A feature film, The Hummingbird Tree, was produced by the BBC, winning several awards. He has had many stories & two novels published: Blue Poppies and Poor Mercy. Jonathan has held a Fullbright Senior Fellowship in screenwriting, and has also taught creative writing for the Arvon Foundation.
Let’s be honest, many of us have wanted to write a book and ‘never got round to it’, but what if you had a need so great that it was all encompassing. What if it invaded your day everyday. That’s what happened to the late Iris Gower. Iris wrote 40 novels and was highly successful. Iris had the urge to write and if that applies to you too, then this book is a must. Jo Falla is a top teacher and a published author in his own right. In this book he literally shows you how to be a novelist. Frankly it is almost impossible to improve your writing.
The book covers:
- Finding Stories: this chapter shows you how to find stories. In this chapter, the author gives the example of Clochmerle to explain the Hitchcock term of a McGuffin and shows why the toilet fits this role perfectly,
- Journeys: Almost always the main character will embark on a journey and here there are examples including the emotionally charged Dr Zhivago, that wonderful classic from Boris Pasternak.
- Adventures: Here the chapter covers the brilliant work of Simmel and uses the 2010 Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence and Pascal Mercier’s Night Train to Lisbon to explain what this means to you as the budding writer.
- The Misfit or the new kid on the block: ( no not the American boy band New kids on the Block or NKOTB) here you are entreated to a short-story by Robert-Louis Stevenson. It is brilliant and short!
- Where do you find Stories?: here we see an amazing link between Anna Karenina from Tolstoy and the classic movie Brief Encounter (which was based on Noel Coward’s Still Life and written by Noel Coward).
- Moral Dilemmas: Sophie’s Choice by William Styron is the example used here. It is a heartbreaking example and you get to see how Styron created this dilemma. The author then puts you in a dilemma, with the trolley problem, which will you choose? Whatever you decide, someone dies!
- The Rashomon Tale: This is where the slippery nature of truthy can be undermined. The author explains this format and the links to Wilkie Collins.
- The Epistle Story: this was very popular and the story form has now transferred to film.
- The Diary: examples include Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones and Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole.
The Book then takes you through:
- The Bildungsroman: this is explained by referencing to Goethe’s Wilheim Meister’s Apprenticeship and D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers.
- The Picaresque: here the author explains the connection to cynicism and how to use it in your story.
- The Historical Epic: One of the benefits for authors of living through historical incidents like the 2020 Pandemic is that it creates sales for historical stories. People want to look back in a nostalgic way to a simpler life.
The author has done such a brilliant job with this, but don’t just take our word for it, here are some of the reviews:
james5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read and the work points helps you to understand …Reviewed in the United Kingdom Verified Purchase
A very good read and the work points helps you to understand what is being said by the author. I would recommend this book to every writer, whether starting out or experienced.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom
This book is aimed at the wannabe novelists amongst us; it has sections on story arcs, using interior and exterior scenes, dialogue, converting your real life into writing (which has an interesting take on the standard ‘write what you know’ line – as the author rightly points out, you may be too close to what you know to make the necessary cuts and changes to turn it into art). It’s written in an easy read style, informal but not annoyingly chatty. The examples from known and less well know books are well judged. I particularly liked the Robert Louis Stevenson story of just 49 words.
As with all books of this type, there will be bits that people disagree with – but because the book’s arguments are plausible you have to think why you disagree, and in doing so learn more about what you actually think yourself.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom
As a writer I am always on the look out for books like this. In my view this is accelerated learning by learning from another writer. This author is NOT a household name BUT he is a damn fine writer.
He has been on Radio 4’s Front Row with Mark Lawson and has been interviewed in top newspapers like the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian. They do not waste time on hacks, that is a measure of how good he is. I have uploaded a scan of the cover of my book since the cover amazon are showing must be a dummy, The actual cover is gorgeous. I am writing my first novel and am changing some things as a result of Falla’s advice. If you are keen to learn how to write you need to read this book.
Nessa5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully clear and concise guide to writing fiction Reviewed in the United Kingdom
There is no shortage of ‘how-to’ books in the world of creative writing, but few are as well written, well structured and coherent as Jonathan Falla’s ‘The Craft of Fiction’. This comprehensive guide looks at every angle of fiction writing, from the sources of inspiration and plot archtypes through characterisation and conflict creation to types of genre and how to edit. Falla’s style is crisp and clear, his examples informative and eminently helpful; I found his analysis of Casablanca’s three-act structure revelatory and something that I can easily adapt and use in my own teaching. This is a great little book – it should be a classic in its field.
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Jonathan Falla is a prolific author and playwright. He has written scripts for a theatre group & schools. A feature film, The Hummingbird Tree, was produced by the BBC, winning several awards. He has had many stories & two novels published: Blue Poppies and Poor Mercy. Jonathan has held a Fullbright Senior Fellowship in screenwriting, and has also taught creative writing for the Arvon Foundation.