Creating Short Fiction | Damon Knight

This book strikes me as being for writers of intermediate skills a little bit more than beginners and a little bit less than advanced writers. If you are looking for raw basics to get started in writing as hobby or career, you might be better off leaving Mr. Knight’s book on the shelf just a little bit longer and looking instead at more basic instruction.

However, if you have already reached the mid-point in developing your skills–this is one of the first books to acquire in the next round. It is a smooth and interesting read and offers a deep well of information on various writing subjects, including a step-by-step walk through of one of Knight’s stories as he discusses why he made certain decisions in the plotting process and how each of those decisions altered the storyline later on. The entire book appears very well thought out and the information is generally useful and flows logically from point to point.

One of the earliest and perhaps best concepts in this book is the “collaboration with Fred”.  Knight has bestowed the name Fred on his subconscious, and goes on to explain how Fred can be used in creating fiction. (While I have been able to get my Fred to give me a lot of help, I’m afraid that Knight’s Fred must be much wiser and more helpful than my own.)

Other chapters cover viewpoint, background, action, beginning a story, finishing a story and most importantly controlling a story–keeping it from running away or leaving you stranded in a corner with your characters in a box of their own making.

Creating Short Fiction is among the more interesting of the writing books that I have read and it is one that I easily remember both the name and author of. When your pile of books is so tall that you can’t remember every author or book name, it means something when one book stands out this well. Knight has managed to pass on enough advice to take many novice writers and move them to the intermediate category.

I’m rating this as an intermediate book
Four stars overall.
Four stars for ease of reading.
Four stars for usefulness of information

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