Oakley Hall’s “The Art & Craft of Novel Writing”

A definite keeper. A resource. Read it twice and will read it again.

Rarely have I read a book that covers the entirety of a subject so well, so elegantly, so masterfully, with detailed examples and explanations. I had trouble finding pages I didn’t dogear, highlight portions of, make notes on, et cetera. This book is a must for anyone learning/practicing/perfecting their craft. My great loss is my local library not carrying any of his books. I’ll spend the money to see how this wonderful teacher applies his craft. If he’s half the master at writing as he is at teaching, Whoa!

The chapters cover the obvious; Point of View, Characterization, Plotting, Style, Dialogue and more. What you’ll miss unless you pick up the book and read is the detail given in each chapter, the sheer amount of information about crafting is amazing. There’s no such thing as incidental information. Every page has a gem. Even the obvious, such as “In fiction everything must be specific rather than abstract.”, is given with several examples from the simplistic to the profound.

Get this book and learn.

One of Hall’s standout teaching techniques is to take whole sections from obscure and recognizable published work to demonstrate positive and negative. He uses both his and others’ work to show how it could be better, explaining why one method works, one doesn’t, one is good, another is better.

Get this book and learn.