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The One-Hour MFA (in fiction)

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Want to save $50K on graduate school? In The One-Hour MFA, novelist Michael Kimball (Big Ray, Dear Everybody, etc.) gives indispensable advice as he breaks down the writing process into fifteen brief, meaningful lessons. Making detailed reference to some of the world’s best fiction writers, Kimball gives straightforward guidance on how to open a story and how to end one, h Want to save $50K on graduate school? In The One-Hour MFA, novelist Michael Kimball (Big Ray, Dear Everybody, etc.) gives indispensable advice as he breaks down the writing process into fifteen brief, meaningful lessons. Making detailed reference to some of the world’s best fiction writers, Kimball gives straightforward guidance on how to open a story and how to end one, how to revise and how to pay attention to things like syntax and acoustics, as well as various ways to think about character, voice, story, plot, and description.


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Want to save $50K on graduate school? In The One-Hour MFA, novelist Michael Kimball (Big Ray, Dear Everybody, etc.) gives indispensable advice as he breaks down the writing process into fifteen brief, meaningful lessons. Making detailed reference to some of the world’s best fiction writers, Kimball gives straightforward guidance on how to open a story and how to end one, h Want to save $50K on graduate school? In The One-Hour MFA, novelist Michael Kimball (Big Ray, Dear Everybody, etc.) gives indispensable advice as he breaks down the writing process into fifteen brief, meaningful lessons. Making detailed reference to some of the world’s best fiction writers, Kimball gives straightforward guidance on how to open a story and how to end one, how to revise and how to pay attention to things like syntax and acoustics, as well as various ways to think about character, voice, story, plot, and description.

44 review for The One-Hour MFA (in fiction)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bud Smith

    Took an hour to read, saved me 50k

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Took me two hours.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    I'll read absolutely anything that Michael Kimball puts out, so when I found out he had a book about how to write, I was pretty pumped. I'm on record as being someone who doesn't feel fulfilled by writing how-to books, in general. By the time I finish most, I feel like I would have benefited more from reading a really good book that's like the kind of book I want to write. Think about it like this. If I were an architect, I'd have to get the basics. I'd have to read some architecture books. But th I'll read absolutely anything that Michael Kimball puts out, so when I found out he had a book about how to write, I was pretty pumped. I'm on record as being someone who doesn't feel fulfilled by writing how-to books, in general. By the time I finish most, I feel like I would have benefited more from reading a really good book that's like the kind of book I want to write. Think about it like this. If I were an architect, I'd have to get the basics. I'd have to read some architecture books. But then, if I were building houses, I think there would be a point where I could learn more from going into houses. Seeing what other builders did, and seeing how people live in their spaces. I would want to talk to homeowners more than architects. Or, perhaps more to the point, if you want to be a bodybuilder, you have to learn some shit, and then you have to go and pick up some heavy stuff. There's no amount of reading that substitutes for doing the thing. That said, this book is fantastic. For starters, it really does take about an hour to read. Maybe even less. I read more than half while I got my oil changed. Second, it's got something a lot of how-to-write books don't. I get frustrated at times because so many how-to books don't give out ANY rules. It's all about "Oh, do it however you want, there's no wrong way." The One-Hour MFA lays some stuff out that I wish someone had told me, yet it does so in a way that doesn't forbid creativity. For example, regarding openings: "There are lots of things writing teachers tell their writing students not to write. The list is huge, but here's a short version: getting drunk, smoking cigarettes, backpacking in Europe, dreams, porn, car chases, car accidents, your band, how much you hate your ex-wife, ex-boyfriend, etc. Of course, there are probably exceptions to each of those (except backpacking in Europe)." Holy crap, if I taught a creative writing class, that would be a poster on the wall. The book does a marvelous job of being prescriptive enough to create some parameters, but open enough so that it doesn't feel like the death of creative license. And you have time to read both it AND a great novel, which means it's just about right. I will say this. I would love it it everyone read this book because I think it would result in more books I want to read. Yesterday, someone was a little horrified when I said that I usually quit a book within the first five pages or finish it completely. The style is just so important to me. I would love it if everyone read this book, but there are a couple things you should know. 1. It's probably most helpful if you want to do the kind of writing that you see in a lot of MFA programs. What's been described as "literary fiction", I suppose. I personally think it would help people who write genre fiction as well, and I love me some well-written genre stuff, but the specific advice is less oriented that way. 2. This book will probably be the most helpful if you've got a project in mind already or if you've attempted one and maybe it didn't click. If you're in that "someday I'll write a novel" thing, this book is probably more micro and technique-oriented than something that will really help, although Kimball's story of writing his first novel on the subway, a couple lines a day, is pretty motivating. But if you're stuck in a project, if you're out there writing without a group or a mentor, or if you never took a creative writing class, holy crap, this is well worth your time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    This collection of micro-essays on the craft of fiction offers a mix of tried-and-true advice for aspiring writers and Kimball's own reflections on what has worked for him personally. While the book won't replace longer texts on the subject, it distills a lot of the usual writing advice into a single, slim volume, and even manages to present a few opposing viewpoints on certain elements of craft. Definitely worth an hour of any writer's time, especially a writer just getting into the nuts and bo This collection of micro-essays on the craft of fiction offers a mix of tried-and-true advice for aspiring writers and Kimball's own reflections on what has worked for him personally. While the book won't replace longer texts on the subject, it distills a lot of the usual writing advice into a single, slim volume, and even manages to present a few opposing viewpoints on certain elements of craft. Definitely worth an hour of any writer's time, especially a writer just getting into the nuts and bolts of literary fiction.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris Negron

    Great little craft book, really quick read. And I've tweeting and blogged about what I read a couple of times already, so I must've really connected with it!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Great useful book. The only drawback is after reading it I wanted to rewrite everything I ever wrote.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael B Tager

    Review here: https://jmwwblog.wordpress.com/2015/0... Review here: https://jmwwblog.wordpress.com/2015/0...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matt W

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brooks

    "I don't like metaphors or similes in fiction, but I do like metaphors and similes about fiction."

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mattia

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dan Westervelt

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tabitha Denson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stevie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen Pollock

  22. 4 out of 5

    Micheila

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jac

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jen Grow

  27. 5 out of 5

    J.D.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eden

  29. 5 out of 5

    Flo

  30. 5 out of 5

    Beamish13

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  32. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  33. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Miska

  34. 4 out of 5

    Ronald J

  35. 4 out of 5

    Lara Corona

  36. 4 out of 5

    Matías Fleischmann

  37. 4 out of 5

    Frank

  38. 5 out of 5

    Phil Keeling

  39. 5 out of 5

    Mike Woods

  40. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  41. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Laraia

  42. 4 out of 5

    J. A.

  43. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Norris

  44. 5 out of 5

    Adam Lisabeth

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