The Stuff of Fiction

Advice on Craft
Enlarged and Revised Edition
Douglas Bauer
A master storyteller and teacher talks about the tools of the fiction writer's craft


In this book, prizewinning novelist and popular creative writing instructor Douglas Bauer shares the secrets of his trade. His lively and candid essays on subjects critical to the fiction writer's success demystify the essential elements of fiction writing, how they work, and work together. He draws heavily on models of published fiction, with more than fifty writers called upon to demonstrate the skills he describes.

This revised and enlarged edition incorporates three new chapters, as well as writing exercises that put Bauer's advice to practice. The chapters focus on the building blocks of successful fiction, including the prose sentence, dialogue, narrative context and implicit narrative, characters, dramatic events, openings and closings, and the issue of sentiment versus sentimentality. By assuming the point of view of someone at the task, engaged in the work, inside the effort to bring an invented world to life, The Stuff of Fiction speaks to writers of all ages in a pleasurable yet practical voice.

Cover design by Susy Pilgrim-Waters.

Praise / Awards

  • "Step into Bauer's ballroom and you'll find a sophisticated handling of the provocative universe of fiction."
    The Writer

  • "Not only a text on craft, but also a book about loving literature and looking closely at the canvas and paint strokes of great writing... a book for anyone who wants to better understand how the masters do what they do. Even if you've never inked a letter of literary fiction, if you love such works of art, then you'll find this little book-forgive me-good stuff."
    Writer's Carousel

Look Inside

Copyright © 2006, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 5.5 x 8.5.
  • 200pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2006
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03153-5

Add to Cart
  • $22.95 U.S.

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