Macauley and Lanning’s “Technique in Fiction”

A worthwhile read to get you to the next level regardless of what level you’re on

Nuance. Technique in Fiction is a must read because it teaches nuance.

It teaches much more. Just when I thought my brain had filled with as much technique and suggestion as possible, there’d be another bit that I had to write down and practice so I could remember it.

The basic takeaway is that authors should read this book after they’ve finished something big (novella, novel, novelette, noveletta, novina…okay, maybe not a novina) so they can figure out how to improve their writing during the rewrite/editing process. Story writers will also benefit provided they give themselves some down time between writing and editing so their minds can absorb what’s in these pages.

Great stuff!

Technique in Fiction

For myself, I was able to apply every chapter – almost every paragraph in some chapters! – to either a work I considered ready to send out or a work in progress. I know that can be disheartening; you thought you were through with a piece and now you have to go back to it. I was more than happy to return to pieces I’d long since retired as I learned how to fix them.

Let me offer some examples (probably obvious to you, palm-to-the-forehead to me):

  • Dialogue should show relationship between characters
  • Facial expressions as characterizations
  • Courting behaviors as keys to character
  • Five functions of place in a story
  • Putting “And then?” and “Why?” into a story
  • Questions to ask yourself to make sure your story is going somewhere

Excellent stuff and worth a read again and again and again.