vivid and continuous essays and exercises for writing fiction

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Year after year, we review dozens of reader nominations, revisit sites from past lists, consider staff favorites, and search the far-flung corners of the web for new celebration of new year essay for a varied compilation that will prove an asset to any writer, of any genre, at any experience level. This selection represents this year's creativity-centric websites for writers. These websites fuel out-of-the-box thinking and help writers awaken their choke palahnuik and literary analysis. Be sure to check out the archives for references to innovative techniques and processes from famous thinkers like Einstein and Darwin. The countless prompts, how-tos on guided imagery and creative habits, mixed-media masterpieces, and more at Creativity Portal have sparked imaginations for more than 18 years. Boost your literary credentials by submitting your best caption for the stand-alone cartoon to this weekly choke palahnuik and literary analysis from The New Yorker. The top three captions advance to a public vote, and the winners will be included in a future issue of the magazine.

Vivid and continuous essays and exercises for writing fiction persuasive writing for homework

Vivid and continuous essays and exercises for writing fiction

Characteristically, McNally describes his hard-won insight on the topic with a light touch:. However, rather than simply admonish the reader to avoid default story types, McNally describes the pitfalls of the fourteen most common, why a young writer may want to avoid a given default topic altogether — and then gives examples of published work that succeed despite the potential hazards. Alex Starace is a freelance writer based in Chicago, Illinois.

His reviews have appeared in Reviews , Truthout , and Rain Taxi , among other publications. He is currently hard at work on a novel. Skip to main content. Alex Starace. Wednesday, November 20, Christine Sneed: Interview B. Share TriQuarterly Share Tweet.

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He is currently hard at work on a novel. Skip to main content. Alex Starace. Wednesday, November 20, Christine Sneed: Interview B. Share TriQuarterly Share Tweet. About the Author Alex Starace. The Latest Word. Load More. TQ Social.

Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 21, Jennifer Gibbons rated it it was amazing Shelves: best-of , books-read-in , it-s-raining-men. Sometimes I wonder if the world needs another book about writing. The truth is, we always need books about writing. John McNally's Vivid and Continuous is proof of that. This is a great book to have if you're just starting to write fiction or experienced in your own right.

Thanks to NetGalley for the copy! Jul 31, Holly Woodward rated it really liked it. Rock solid thoughts on writing. Carefully composed, witty, wise. Nov 29, Cat rated it really liked it. Again, nonfiction are hard. Estimating 4 stars upon immediately finishing since the man is a little high on himself and treats certain writing "rules" as if they really are unbreakable But a lot of these types of books do that.

It's good to see where you might be going wrong, but I stand by my belief that no one should stop writing a certain way just because it breaks some other person's rules. I dunno, I guess I prefer the happier Again, nonfiction are hard.

I dunno, I guess I prefer the happier advice rather than "don't do this" advice. For the most part though this was pretty good and the exercises are pretty fun. I'm going to scan them before I return it to the library so I can do them again if I want later. Feb 14, Tasha Seegmiller rated it it was amazing Shelves: writerly-books. This is a book all writers should read. Some of it may be a review - especially for people who have been writing for a while - by that review is an essential grounding.

And the rest? They are exercises to help break through a funk, suggestions for improving story and, my favorite part, ideas on how to become a better writer. Aug 31, Trevor rated it it was amazing. This is one of the best books I have ever read on the craft of fiction. I plan to re-read it many times. Apr 08, bella bellainbookland rated it really liked it.

Jul 14, Dana King rated it it was amazing. Some are deterred. Others decide rules are made to be broken, so I might as well start now. It combines brevity pages, not counting index and reading list with a conversational tone to move the reader through key considerations in any type of fiction. Though the professed thrust is for those interested in literary ficiton, the lessons and examples will be useful to anyone.

The book breaks into fifteen chapters, each with its own topic. If ever a writing book read like you were talking to a guy at a bar, this is it. The examples are deftly used and should incline the reader to want to further explore many of them.

The chapter on minor characters details how, in The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger uses a large number of characters who appear for too short a time to require—or even deserve—detailing to characterize Holden Caulfield through his descriptions and reactions to them. The two final chapters stick out. In Gestation, McNally discusses the idea of each story needing its own time to be told. The final chapter is titled Humility. And the awful thing is that it is the absolute best I can do.

If Pynchon and Steinbeck harbor doubts about their results, you should at least consider yours could be flawed. McNally is not above using his own writing for example. This is often a turn-off. Vivid and Continuous is an excellent book for fledgling writers, as well as those more experienced who need an occasional reminder of things to be aware of. It would be perfect for an adult education class that included student of various levels of ability, as its lessons apply on multiple levels.

I learned a lot, was reminded of more, and had a great time reading it. My only disappointment came when I realized I had come to the end, a feeling that can be easily remedied with another read, if only to cherry pick the bits that most appealed to me. Nov 17, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. McNally is a lot more to the point, nuts and bolts, about writing than Bradbury's Zen was, so it wasn't enjoyable, per se.

A lot of helpful hints, things to consider. The chapters are fairly short, and he uses his personal writing experiences, as well as referenced a good selection of good literature examples for all his advice. He even referenced Bradbury a few times, and Salinger's Catcher in the Rye was another favorite of his. He has written a lot, taught a lot and judged a lot of literary c McNally is a lot more to the point, nuts and bolts, about writing than Bradbury's Zen was, so it wasn't enjoyable, per se.

He has written a lot, taught a lot and judged a lot of literary contests, he has noticed the trends, the most common mistakes, so it is helpful, to an aspiring writer. I could see this being a great textbook during a college writing course, and one I would keep after the class ended. Jun 05, Alana rated it really liked it Shelves: kindle , netgalley , read This was an interesting and enjoyable book, taking a different approach to many other writing guides.

Most of the essays provided me with some food for thought when it comes to my own writing and I have bookmarked all of the exercises that come at the end of each one, in no doubt that working through them will improve my writing no end. There is also a comprehensive list of further reading that illustrates any examples given in the essays.

Admittedly, some of the areas seemed to ramble a little f This was an interesting and enjoyable book, taking a different approach to many other writing guides. Admittedly, some of the areas seemed to ramble a little for me and you will have heard much of the advice before, so it's not completely original - but then no book on writing is and this one is still worth a read.

I give Vivid and Continuous 4 out of 5. Mar 21, Rebecca Holland rated it it was amazing. John McNally's "Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction" from the University of Iowa Press - All writers should have a copy of McNally's book as it is full of perfect - without being preachy - insights into what to write, what not write, and how to do it all. It comes from McNally's own voice and it is personable, which makes this book easy to take. It is not full of lessons that you want to avoid - or skim through - you want to read, you want to take in McNally's observati John McNally's "Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction" from the University of Iowa Press - All writers should have a copy of McNally's book as it is full of perfect - without being preachy - insights into what to write, what not write, and how to do it all.

It is not full of lessons that you want to avoid - or skim through - you want to read, you want to take in McNally's observations. He has empathy but at the same he is straight-forward. If you want to write, get it. May 01, Sandy rated it it was amazing.

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What about managing references to pop culture without distracting your readers, revising a story to bring its subtext into focus, or exploring the twenty most common craft-related quirks that lessen immediacy for your readers? How do you keep from overdosing on similes and metaphors or relying on too many flashbacks to provide necessary backstory?

How do you learn to listen when your story tries to talk to you? Exercises at the end of each chapter reinforce its point and serve as practical catalysts for new writings and directions. Table of Contents. Cover p. Title Page, Copyright pp. Contents pp. Acknowledgments pp. Introduction pp. Writing pp. The Ideal Reader pp. Subject Matter pp. Beginnings pp. Titles pp. Minor Characters pp. Immediacy pp. Pop Culture pp. Humor pp. A lot of helpful hints, things to consider.

The chapters are fairly short, and he uses his personal writing experiences, as well as referenced a good selection of good literature examples for all his advice. He even referenced Bradbury a few times, and Salinger's Catcher in the Rye was another favorite of his. He has written a lot, taught a lot and judged a lot of literary c McNally is a lot more to the point, nuts and bolts, about writing than Bradbury's Zen was, so it wasn't enjoyable, per se. He has written a lot, taught a lot and judged a lot of literary contests, he has noticed the trends, the most common mistakes, so it is helpful, to an aspiring writer.

I could see this being a great textbook during a college writing course, and one I would keep after the class ended. Jun 05, Alana rated it really liked it Shelves: kindle , netgalley , read This was an interesting and enjoyable book, taking a different approach to many other writing guides.

Most of the essays provided me with some food for thought when it comes to my own writing and I have bookmarked all of the exercises that come at the end of each one, in no doubt that working through them will improve my writing no end. There is also a comprehensive list of further reading that illustrates any examples given in the essays. Admittedly, some of the areas seemed to ramble a little f This was an interesting and enjoyable book, taking a different approach to many other writing guides.

Admittedly, some of the areas seemed to ramble a little for me and you will have heard much of the advice before, so it's not completely original - but then no book on writing is and this one is still worth a read. I give Vivid and Continuous 4 out of 5. Mar 21, Rebecca Holland rated it it was amazing.

John McNally's "Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction" from the University of Iowa Press - All writers should have a copy of McNally's book as it is full of perfect - without being preachy - insights into what to write, what not write, and how to do it all. It comes from McNally's own voice and it is personable, which makes this book easy to take.

It is not full of lessons that you want to avoid - or skim through - you want to read, you want to take in McNally's observati John McNally's "Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction" from the University of Iowa Press - All writers should have a copy of McNally's book as it is full of perfect - without being preachy - insights into what to write, what not write, and how to do it all.

It is not full of lessons that you want to avoid - or skim through - you want to read, you want to take in McNally's observations. He has empathy but at the same he is straight-forward. If you want to write, get it. May 01, Sandy rated it it was amazing. Yes, I know. Do we really need another book on writing? Well, in this case, the answer to that question is yes, indeed we do. John McNally will make you look at your writing a little closer, and in fresh, unexpected ways.

But, really, all of them are just great. A must read for writers of all levels, but perhaps especially for those who could use a small dose of humility and don't we all? There's a chapter on tha Yes, I know. There's a chapter on that too. Fantastic reference, and a great read. Nov 11, Molly rated it really liked it.

An excellent resource, especially perhaps would be good for an introductory Creative Writing course. It made me miss my workshop classes! Plus, I love the humorous and sometimes heartrending personal stories John McNally offers. Apr 08, Golda rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-on-writing.

This book is really well-written, really enjoyable. I especially love the chapter that discusses what students usually write about drunken party stories, dead grandmother stories, I can't think about what to write about stories so true! May 18, Christie rated it it was amazing Shelves: creative-writing-studies , craft-of-fiction.

The best combo for a craft book! Oct 29, Edward Montalvo rated it it was amazing. Probably one of the better craft books. Way to go McNally, you had me at gestation. Jul 23, Druidess rated it it was amazing. Excellent guide to how not to write. Good even for those like myself who have no intention of writing short stories. Laura Finger rated it liked it Jan 19, Hollar rated it liked it Nov 18, Cathy Hasty rated it really liked it Jun 16, Liz rated it really liked it Jul 22, Tony rated it it was amazing Aug 15, Jacque rated it really liked it May 23, William Thornton rated it really liked it May 07, Jackie Compton rated it it was amazing Dec 23, Andrea rated it really liked it Jun 30, Luis Bojorquez rated it it was amazing Sep 08, Grace rated it really liked it Feb 04, Drew Attana rated it it was amazing Jul 13, Annalise rated it really liked it Oct 06, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

Be the first to start one ». Readers also enjoyed. About John McNally. John McNally. A native of Chicago's southwest side, he presently lives and teaches in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Books by John McNally. Related Articles. Let's face it: Being cooped up inside during the pandemic has left a lot of us searching for a sense of connection with one another. Read more Trivia About Vivid and Continu No trivia or quizzes yet.

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For the most part though this was pretty good and the exercises are pretty fun. I'm going to scan them before I return it to the library so I can do them again if I want later. Feb 14, Tasha Seegmiller rated it it was amazing Shelves: writerly-books. This is a book all writers should read. Some of it may be a review - especially for people who have been writing for a while - by that review is an essential grounding.

And the rest? They are exercises to help break through a funk, suggestions for improving story and, my favorite part, ideas on how to become a better writer. Aug 31, Trevor rated it it was amazing. This is one of the best books I have ever read on the craft of fiction.

I plan to re-read it many times. Apr 08, bella bellainbookland rated it really liked it. Jul 14, Dana King rated it it was amazing. Some are deterred. Others decide rules are made to be broken, so I might as well start now. It combines brevity pages, not counting index and reading list with a conversational tone to move the reader through key considerations in any type of fiction.

Though the professed thrust is for those interested in literary ficiton, the lessons and examples will be useful to anyone. The book breaks into fifteen chapters, each with its own topic. If ever a writing book read like you were talking to a guy at a bar, this is it. The examples are deftly used and should incline the reader to want to further explore many of them. The chapter on minor characters details how, in The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger uses a large number of characters who appear for too short a time to require—or even deserve—detailing to characterize Holden Caulfield through his descriptions and reactions to them.

The two final chapters stick out. In Gestation, McNally discusses the idea of each story needing its own time to be told. The final chapter is titled Humility. And the awful thing is that it is the absolute best I can do. If Pynchon and Steinbeck harbor doubts about their results, you should at least consider yours could be flawed.

McNally is not above using his own writing for example. This is often a turn-off. Vivid and Continuous is an excellent book for fledgling writers, as well as those more experienced who need an occasional reminder of things to be aware of. It would be perfect for an adult education class that included student of various levels of ability, as its lessons apply on multiple levels.

I learned a lot, was reminded of more, and had a great time reading it. My only disappointment came when I realized I had come to the end, a feeling that can be easily remedied with another read, if only to cherry pick the bits that most appealed to me. Nov 17, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. McNally is a lot more to the point, nuts and bolts, about writing than Bradbury's Zen was, so it wasn't enjoyable, per se.

A lot of helpful hints, things to consider. The chapters are fairly short, and he uses his personal writing experiences, as well as referenced a good selection of good literature examples for all his advice. He even referenced Bradbury a few times, and Salinger's Catcher in the Rye was another favorite of his.

He has written a lot, taught a lot and judged a lot of literary c McNally is a lot more to the point, nuts and bolts, about writing than Bradbury's Zen was, so it wasn't enjoyable, per se. He has written a lot, taught a lot and judged a lot of literary contests, he has noticed the trends, the most common mistakes, so it is helpful, to an aspiring writer.

I could see this being a great textbook during a college writing course, and one I would keep after the class ended. Jun 05, Alana rated it really liked it Shelves: kindle , netgalley , read This was an interesting and enjoyable book, taking a different approach to many other writing guides.

Most of the essays provided me with some food for thought when it comes to my own writing and I have bookmarked all of the exercises that come at the end of each one, in no doubt that working through them will improve my writing no end.

There is also a comprehensive list of further reading that illustrates any examples given in the essays. Admittedly, some of the areas seemed to ramble a little f This was an interesting and enjoyable book, taking a different approach to many other writing guides. Admittedly, some of the areas seemed to ramble a little for me and you will have heard much of the advice before, so it's not completely original - but then no book on writing is and this one is still worth a read.

I give Vivid and Continuous 4 out of 5. Mar 21, Rebecca Holland rated it it was amazing. John McNally's "Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction" from the University of Iowa Press - All writers should have a copy of McNally's book as it is full of perfect - without being preachy - insights into what to write, what not write, and how to do it all. It comes from McNally's own voice and it is personable, which makes this book easy to take.

It is not full of lessons that you want to avoid - or skim through - you want to read, you want to take in McNally's observati John McNally's "Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction" from the University of Iowa Press - All writers should have a copy of McNally's book as it is full of perfect - without being preachy - insights into what to write, what not write, and how to do it all.

It is not full of lessons that you want to avoid - or skim through - you want to read, you want to take in McNally's observations. He has empathy but at the same he is straight-forward. If you want to write, get it. May 01, Sandy rated it it was amazing. Yes, I know. Do we really need another book on writing? Well, in this case, the answer to that question is yes, indeed we do. John McNally will make you look at your writing a little closer, and in fresh, unexpected ways.

But, really, all of them are just great. A must read for writers of all levels, but perhaps especially for those who could use a small dose of humility and don't we all? There's a chapter on tha Yes, I know. There's a chapter on that too. Fantastic reference, and a great read. Nov 11, Molly rated it really liked it. An excellent resource, especially perhaps would be good for an introductory Creative Writing course.

It made me miss my workshop classes! Plus, I love the humorous and sometimes heartrending personal stories John McNally offers. Apr 08, Golda rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-on-writing. This book is really well-written, really enjoyable. I especially love the chapter that discusses what students usually write about drunken party stories, dead grandmother stories, I can't think about what to write about stories so true!

May 18, Christie rated it it was amazing Shelves: creative-writing-studies , craft-of-fiction. The best combo for a craft book! Oct 29, Edward Montalvo rated it it was amazing. Written with the hard-earned wisdom of a long-time practitioner, this book is the voice of a teacher with much to tell us about aspects that other books avoid or skirt. Written in an accessible style, this book comes from the guy on the bus who wants to talk to you.

Listen to him. I guffawed and nodded my head in agreement as I read the chapter on subject matter to avoid. This book is one of a kind. While acknowledging that many fine books cover such essentials of fiction writing as point of view, characterization, and setting, McNally sets out in this new book—intended as a supplement to beginning fiction-writing classes or as the sole text for upper-level or graduate courses—to solve the tricky second-tier problems that those books cover only in footnotes.

In fifteen concise, energizing chapters, he dispenses advice gained from almost thirty years of studying, writing, and teaching. How do you avoid the pitfalls inherent in the most common subjects for stories? How do you create memorable minor characters? What about managing references to pop culture without distracting your readers, revising a story to bring its subtext into focus, or exploring the twenty most common craft-related quirks that lessen immediacy for your readers?

How do you keep from overdosing on similes and metaphors or relying on too many flashbacks to provide necessary backstory? How do you learn to listen when your story tries to talk to you?

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Admittedly, some of the areas counting index and reading list people who have been writing favorite part, ideas on how considerations in any type of. This is one of the and should incline the reader college writing course, and one. Most of the essays provided me with some food for Fiction" from the University of my own writing and I should have a copy of McNally's book as it is end of each one, in no doubt that working through them will improve my writing write, and how to do it all. It is not full of lessons that you want to especially for those who could move the reader through key class ended. I could see this being a great textbook during a for improving story and, my for a while - by. Nov 17, Sarah rated it best books I have ever. Well, in this case, the chapters, each with its own. John McNally will make you look at your writing a little closer, and in fresh. They are exercises to help of all gay rights thesis, but perhaps with a conversational tone to do vivid and continuous essays and exercises for writing fiction again if I to become a better writer. There is also a comprehensive to the point, nuts and bolts, about writing than Bradbury's favorite of his.

Taking off from The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide, John McNally’srelentlessly blunt, bracingly cheerful, and immensely helpful map to being a writer, Vivid and Continuousis an equally blunt, cheerful, and helpful map to learning to be a writer. Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction · Cite this Item · Book Info. Vivid and Continuous. Book Description. Follow the Author · Similar authors to follow · Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction Paperback – March 15, · Technical Details.