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Building Fiction
How to Develop Plot and Structure
Jesse Lee Kercheval



"If you are writing fiction or teaching students to write fiction, this book is the best guide you can have."
—Kelly Cherry, author of My Life and Dr. Joyce Brothers: A Novel in Stories

No one looks at structure like Jesse Lee Kercheval. She builds a work of fiction just as an architect would design a house—with an eye for details and how all parts of a story or novel interconnect. Even with the most dynamic language, images, and characters, no piece of fiction will work without a strong infrastructure. Kercheval shows how to build that structure using such tools as point of view, characterization, pacing, and flashbacks. Building Fiction will help you envision the landscape of your fiction and build great stories there.

Jesse Lee Kercheval is the Sally Meade Hands Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she directs the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and codirects the Program in Creative Writing. Her memoir, Space, won the Alex Award from the American Library Association. She is also the author of a novel, The Museum of Happiness; two collections of poems, Dog Angel and World as Dictionary; and a story collection, The Dogeater, which won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Short Fiction.


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March 2003
LC: 2003040187 PN
208 pp.   6 x 9  

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Paper $19.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-18724-8
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