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YA Book Club POSTPONED! Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel this Saturday's YA book club meeting. We will reschedule and post it here and on our social media as soon as we can. 

Writing and Language

27 ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF STO

27 ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF STO

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"So often people ask me if there's a book on story I can recommend. This is the one. I can't recommend it highly enough."--Alexa Junge, writer/producer, Friends, Sex and the City, The West Wing

A master class of 27 lessons, drawn from 27 diverse narratives, for novelists, storytellers, filmmakers, graphic designers, and more. Author Daniel Joshua Rubin unlocks the secrets of what makes a story work, and then shows how to understand and use these principles in your own writing. The result is "an invaluable resource" (Publishers Weekly, starred review), offering priceless advice like escalate risk, with an example from Pulp Fiction. Write characters to the top of their intelligence, from the Eminem song "Stan." Earn transformations, from Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Attack your theme, from The Brothers Karamazov. Insightful, encouraging, filled with attitude, and, as Booklist puts it, "perfect for any writer looking to ensure their stories operate and resonate at the top of their potential," this book gives contemporary storytellers of all kinds a lifeline of inspiration and relatable instruction.

"[The] new bible of lessons and practices for creators."--Library Journal

"Not a 'how-to, ' thank God, but a 'here's why.' Writers of all levels of experience will benefit from reading--and then rereading--this elegant exploration of the principles of storytelling."--Traci Letts, Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning playwright

"A godsend for storytellers in all media. It will help you decide what to write and then show you, step by step, how to tackle virtually any problem you face."--Anna D. Shapiro, Tony Award-winning director, August: Osage County


BIRD BY BIRD

BIRD BY BIRD

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"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

"Superb writing advice... hilarious, helpful and provocative." -- "New York Times Book Review."

"A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer's world and its treacherous swamps." -- "Los Angeles Times."

"A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write... sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind -- a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing "now," while we still can." -- "Seattle Times."

Book Marks: An Artist's Card Catalog: Notes from the Library of My Mind

Book Marks: An Artist's Card Catalog: Notes from the Library of My Mind

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One artist's whimsical and inspiring way to keep track of the books she has read, Book Marks is a visual journey through a lifetime of reading and remembering that features 434 richly illustrated artworks created on old library checkout cards; each collage or drawing distills the contents of a single title. This alluring blend of art book and autobiography will capture the imagination. At its heart are hundreds of captivating 3 x 5-inch artworks--intricate collages and drawings created on old library checkout cards, each one representing a book that left an indelible mark on artist Barbara Page. She began creating these illustrated "book marks" as a colorful way to remember titles she was currently reading. Before long, Page embarked on a decade-long art project recreating her reading history, starting with picture books from early childhood. Every artwork serves as a bookmark for a moment in time connected to a specific title, and, as a collection, they present over seventy years of literature, politics, thought, and culture--as colored by one woman's reading choices. Some images may evoke your own memories of a story. Others may feel like little puzzles that require reading or rereading a title to interpret the artistic references. Over half of the more than 800 cards housed in a two-drawer library case are illustrated here. Interwoven with personal accounts of the artist's life, each card represents a literary work that drives the narrative, directly and indirectly. Book Marks underscores the interplay between our experiences and our reading and can remind us how a good book can linger in our mind for months, if not years.These compelling artworks resonate and inspire, as will Page's story. Like many, the artist discovers strength in the words of authors many of us know and love, and, through reading, she gains knowledge that feeds her personal growth and scientific interest in the world around her. As Page's life is disrupted by tragedies--one husband's mental illness and another's decline into dementia--she forges forward, finding new focus and reinventing her life. Features for readers: - A complete bibliographic list of books referenced in the artworks--fiction, science, art, gardening, travel, history, biography, aviation, ecology, children's literature, and more--to inspire future reading- Author and title indices for easy referencing of the 434 artworks- Bound with two ribbon bookmarks, allowing readers to mark their place in both the chapter and the plate sectionAmong the books represented in the 400+ artworks: Robert McCloskey'sMake Way for Ducklings, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings'sThe Yearling, Louisa May Alcott'sLittle Women, Mark Twain'sThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, George Orwell's1984, Shakespeare'sMacBeth, Kathryn Hulme'sNun's Story, Ernest Hemingway'sA Farwell to Arms, Benjamin Spock'sBaby and Child Care, Rachel Carson's The Silent Spring, Wolfgang Langewiesche's Stick and Rudder, Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice, Alix Kates Shulman'sMemoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, Wassily Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Don Marquis's Archy and Mehitabel, Toni Morrison'sThe Bluest Eye, Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Louise Nevelson's Dawns + Dusks, Jane Austin'sPride and Prejudice, Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook, William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways, Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines, David Quammen's The Song of the Dodo, Paul Theroux's Old Patagonian Express, Elisabeth Sheldon's A Proper Garden, John McPhee'sAnnals of the Former World, Alex Haley'sRoots, Italo Calvin'sCosmicomiche, Alfred Wainwright's A Coast to Coast Walk, Alexander Stille'sThe Future of the Past, Anthony Bourdain'sKitchen Confidential, Alan Weisman'sWorld without Us, Kate Atkinson'sLife After Life, Andrew X. Pham'sCatfish and Mandala, Meg Wolitzer'sThe Interestings, Katharine Harmon'sThe Map as Art, Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie, Jhumpa Lahiri'sThe Lowland, Louise Penny's A Trick of The Light, Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, The Serial Killer, Dave Eggers's The Circle, Orhan Pamuk'sMuseum of Innocence, Daniel James Brown'sBoys in the Boat, Will Schwalbe'sEnd of Your Life Book Club, Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Elizabeth Kolbert'sThe Sixth Extinction, Susan Orlean'sThe Library Book, Amor Towles'sA Gentleman in Moscow.
BURN AFTER WRITING

BURN AFTER WRITING

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The national bestseller

This book has made me laugh and cry, filled me with joy, and inspired me.
-TikTok user camrynbanks

The phenomenally popular secret journal filled with private prompts for personal reflection, self-exploration, and fueling creativity.

Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, TikTok, VSCO, YouTube...the world has not only become one giant feed, but also one giant confessional. Burn After Writing allows you to spend less time scrolling and more time self-reflecting. Through incisive questions and thought experiments, this journal helps you learn new things while letting others go. Imagine instead of publicly declaring your feelings for others, you privately declared your feelings for yourself?

Help your heart by turning off the comments and muting the accounts that drive you into jealousy for a few moments a night. Whether you are going through the ups and downs of growing up, or know a few young people who are, you will flourish by finding free expression--even if through a few tears!

Push your limits, reflect on your past, present, and future, and create a secret book that's about you, and just for you. This is not a diary, and there is no posting required. And when you're finished, toss it, hide it, or Burn After Writing.

Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping

Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping

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This national bestseller is a significant contribution to discussions of the art of fiction and a necessary challenge to received views about whose stories are told, how they are told and for whom they are intended (Laila Lalami, The New York Times Book Review).

The traditional writing workshop was established with white male writers in mind; what we call craft is informed by their cultural values. In this bold and original examination of elements of writing--including plot, character, conflict, structure, and believability--and aspects of workshop--including the silenced writer and the imagined reader--Matthew Salesses asks questions to invigorate these familiar concepts. He upends Western notions of how a story must progress. How can we rethink craft, and the teaching of it, to better reach writers with diverse backgrounds? How can we invite diverse storytelling traditions into literary spaces?

Drawing from examples including One Thousand and One Nights, Curious George, Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, and the Asian American classic No-No Boy, Salesses asks us to reimagine craft and the workshop. In the pages of exercises included here, teachers will find suggestions for building syllabi, grading, and introducing new methods to the classroom; students will find revision and editing guidance, as well as a new lens for reading their work. Salesses shows that we need to interrogate the lack of diversity at the core of published fiction: how we teach and write it. After all, as he reminds us, When we write fiction, we write the world.

DAEMON VOICES

DAEMON VOICES

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From the internationally best-selling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, a spellbinding journey into the secrets of his art--the narratives that have shaped his vision, his experience of writing, and the keys to mastering the art of storytelling.

One of the most highly acclaimed and best-selling authors of our time now gives us a book that charts the history of his own enchantment with story--from his own books to those of Blake, Milton, Dickens, and the Brothers Grimm, among others--and delves into the role of story in education, religion, and science. At once personal and wide-ranging, Daemon Voices is both a revelation of the writing mind and the methods of a great contemporary master, and a fascinating exploration of storytelling itself.

DEVOTION

DEVOTION

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"Devotion is short enough to devour at one enjoyable sitting and thought-provoking enough to deserve re-reading."--Suzi Feay, Financial Times

"Devotion shows rather than tells what it means to give a life to writing. "--Katherine Cooper, Hyperallergic

A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic--its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture's beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.

Patti Smith, a National Book Award-winning author, first presents an original and beautifully crafted tale of obsession--a young skater who lives for her art, a possessive collector who ruthlessly seeks his prize, a relationship forged of need both craven and exalted. She then takes us on a second journey, exploring the sources of her story. We travel through the South of France to Camus's house, and visit the garden of the great publisher Gallimard where the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov, and Genet mingle. Smith tracks down Simone Weil's grave in a lonely cemetery, hours from London, and winds through the nameless Paris streets of Patrick Modiano's novels. Whether writing in a café or a train, Smith generously opens her notebooks and lets us glimpse the alchemy of her art and craft in this arresting and original book on writing.

The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University.

DRAFT NO 4

DRAFT NO 4

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The long-awaited guide to writing long-form nonfiction by the legendary author and teacher

Draft No. 4 is a master class on the writer's craft. In a series of playful, expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he has gathered over his career and has refined while teaching at Princeton University, where he has nurtured some of the most esteemed writers of recent decades. McPhee offers definitive guidance in the decisions regarding arrangement, diction, and tone that shape nonfiction pieces, and he presents extracts from his work, subjecting them to wry scrutiny. In one essay, he considers the delicate art of getting sources to tell you what they might not otherwise reveal. In another, he discusses how to use flashback to place a bear encounter in a travel narrative while observing that "readers are not supposed to notice the structure. It is meant to be about as visible as someone's bones." The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from reporting to drafting to revising--and revising, and revising.

Draft No. 4 is enriched by multiple diagrams and by personal anecdotes and charming reflections on the life of a writer. McPhee describes his enduring relationships with The New Yorker and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and recalls his early years at Time magazine. Throughout, Draft No. 4 is enlivened by his keen sense of writing as a way of being in the world.

DREYER'S ENGLISH: AN UTTERLY C

DREYER'S ENGLISH: AN UTTERLY C

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A sharp, funny grammar guide they'll actually want to read, from Random House's longtime copy chief and one of Twitter's leading language gurus

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY O: The Oprah Magazine - Paste - Shelf Awareness

"Essential (and delightful!)"--People

We all write, all the time: books, blogs, emails. Lots and lots of emails. And we all want to write better. Benjamin Dreyer is here to help.

As Random House's copy chief, Dreyer has upheld the standards of the legendary publisher for more than two decades. He is beloved by authors and editors alike--not to mention his followers on social media--for deconstructing the English language with playful erudition. Now he distills everything he has learned from the myriad books he has copyedited and overseen into a useful guide not just for writers but for everyone who wants to put their best prose foot forward.

As authoritative as it is amusing, Dreyer's English offers lessons on punctuation, from the underloved semicolon to the enigmatic en dash; the rules and nonrules of grammar, including why it's OK to begin a sentence with "And" or "But" and to confidently split an infinitive; and why it's best to avoid the doldrums of the Wan Intensifiers and Throat Clearers, including "very," "rather," "of course," and the dreaded "actually." Dreyer will let you know whether "alright" is all right (sometimes) and even help you brush up on your spelling--though, as he notes, "The problem with mnemonic devices is that I can never remember them."

And yes: "Only godless savages eschew the series comma."

Chockful of advice, insider wisdom, and fun facts, this book will prove to be invaluable to everyone who wants to shore up their writing skills, mandatory for people who spend their time editing and shaping other people's prose, and--perhaps best of all--an utter treat for anyone who simply revels in language.

Praise for Dreyer's English

"Playful, smart, self-conscious, and personal . . . One encounters wisdom and good sense on nearly every page of Dreyer's English."--The Wall Street Journal

"Destined to become a classic."--The Millions

"Dreyer can help you . . . with tips on punctuation and spelling. . . . Even better: He'll entertain you while he's at it."--Newsday

EATS SHOOTS & LEAVES

EATS SHOOTS & LEAVES

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The spirited and scholarly #1 New York Times bestseller combines boisterous history with grammar how-to's to show how important punctuation is in our world--period.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss, gravely concerned about our current grammatical state, boldly defends proper punctuation. She proclaims, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. Using examples from literature, history, neighborhood signage, and her own imagination, Truss shows how meaning is shaped by commas and apostrophes, and the hilarious consequences of punctuation gone awry.

Featuring a foreword by Frank McCourt, and interspersed with a lively history of punctuation from the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, Eats, Shoots & Leaves makes a powerful case for the preservation of proper punctuation.

Elements of Fiction

Elements of Fiction

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Following his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, award-winning author Walter Mosley delivers an eloquent treatise on the craft of fiction writing--part writing guide, part study of the mechanics of the genre.

In his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley supplied aspiring writers with the basic tools to write a novel in one year. In this com-plementary follow up, Mosley guides the writer through the elements of not just any fiction writing, but the kind of writing that transcends convention and truly stands out. How does one approach the genius of writers like Melville, Dickens, or Twain? In The Elements of Fiction, Walter Mosley contemplates the answer.

In a series of instructive and conversational chapters, Mosley demonstrates how to master fiction's most essential elements: character and char-acter development, plot and story, voice and narrative, context and description, and more. The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from the blank page to the first draft to rewriting, and rewriting again. Throughout, The Elements of Fiction is enriched by brilliant demonstrative examples that Mosley himself has written here for the first time.

Inspiring, accessible, and told in a voice both trustworthy and wise, The Elements of Fiction writing will intrigue and encourage writers and readers alike.

ELEMENTS OF STYLE

ELEMENTS OF STYLE

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You know the authors' names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. This is The Elements of Style, the classic style manual, now in a fourth edition. The revisions to the new edition are purposely kept minimal in order to retain the book's unique tone, wit, and charm. A new Glossary of the grammatical terms used in the book provides a convenient reference for readers. The discussion of pronoun use is revised to reflect the contemporary concern with sexist language. In addition, there are numerous slight revisions in the book itself which implement this advice. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that the advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered.This book has conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Use the fourth edition of "the little book" to make a big impact with writing.

GARNER'S QUOTATIONS: A MODERN

GARNER'S QUOTATIONS: A MODERN

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A selection of favorite quotes that the celebrated literary critic has collected over the decades.

From Dwight Garner, the New York Times book critic, comes a rollicking, irreverent, scabrous, amazingly alive selection of unforgettable moments from forty years of wide and deep reading. Garner's Quotations is like no commonplace book you'll ever read. If you've ever wondered what's really going on in the world of letters today, this book will make you sit up and take notice. Unputdownable!

Infographic Guide to Grammar: A Visual Reference for Everything You Need to Know

Infographic Guide to Grammar: A Visual Reference for Everything You Need to Know

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Mastering grammar is now easier than ever with this fully illustrated guide that covers the most important rules in grammar and punctuation--making even the most confusing rules easy to understand.

This illustrated guide to English grammar gives you everything you need for a better understanding of how to write and punctuate correctly. From proper comma usage to the correct form of there, their, or they're--understanding grammar has never been easier.

Is it who or whom? Affect or effect? And what is a prepositional phrase? With The Infographic Guide to Grammar, you'll learn the answers to all of these questions, and so much more. Filled with colorful, easy-to-understand entries, this book includes topics like:

-Basic sentence structure
-The parts of speech
-Common mistakes and how to avoid them

Featuring 50 vibrant infographics explaining everything from subject-verb agreement to the Oxford comma and verb tenses this book breaks down the complicated rules and guidelines for writing the English language and makes them clear and straightforward.

INSTANT LIVES

INSTANT LIVES

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A literary humor classic--fractured biographical moments from the lives of great writers and composers.

This is a collection of mostly imagined encounters between literary figures and their real or imagined family members, friends, and bitter enemies. In Howard Moss's satirical voice and Edward Gorey's twenty-five deadpan illustrations, we see Jane Austen wielding artful passive aggression and Sense and Sensibility galleys, the Alcott girls sculpting fudge, the rise of Emily Dickinson's ruthless witch hazel business, among other delights.

Perfect for those who love literature too much to hold it closely to actual facts.

LOST WORDS

LOST WORDS

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In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary -- widely used in schools around the world -- was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these "lost words" included acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions -- the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual -- became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.

Ten years later, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a "spell book" that will conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories, and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature. The Lost Words is that book -- a work that has already cast its extraordinary spell on hundreds of thousands of people and begun a grass-roots movement to re-wild childhood across Britain, Europe, and North America.

Make a Zine: Start Your Own Underground Publishing Revolution

Make a Zine: Start Your Own Underground Publishing Revolution

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The second edition of this incredibly useful guide on how to makes zines, especially in the Digital Age.

In this new edition of Microcosm's popular DIY guide to zine-making, Joe Biel updates the information provided in the first edition (edited by Biel and the late and great Bill Brent) to address zine making in today's digital and social-media-obsessed world. Covering all the bases for beginners, Make a Zine! hits on more advanced topics like Creative Commons licenses, legality, and sustainability.

Says Feminist Review, Make a Zine! is an inspiring, easy, and digestible read for anyone, whether you're already immersed in a cut-and-paste world, a graphic designer with a penchant for radical thought, or a newbie trying to find the best way to make yourself and your ideas known.

Illustrated by an army of notable and soon-to-be-notable artists and cartoonists, Make a Zine! also takes a look at the burgeoning indie comix scene, with a solid and comprehensive chapter by punk illustrator Fly (Slug and Lettuce, Peops). Part history lesson, part how-to guide, Make a Zine! is a call to arms, an ecstatic, positive rally cry in the face of TV show book clubs and bestsellers by celebrity chefs. As says Biel in the book's intro, Let's go!

MEANDER SPIRAL EXPLODE

MEANDER SPIRAL EXPLODE

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How lovely to discover a book on the craft of writing that is also fun to read . . . Alison asserts that the best stories follow patterns in nature, and by defining these new styles she offers writers the freedom to explore but with enough guidance to thrive. ―Maris Kreizman, Vulture

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019 A Poets & Writers Best Books for Writers

As Jane Alison writes in the introduction to her insightful and appealing book about the craft of writing: "For centuries there's been one path through fiction we're most likely to travel― one we're actually told to follow―and that's the dramatic arc: a situation arises, grows tense, reaches a peak, subsides . . . But something that swells and tautens until climax, then collapses? Bit masculosexual, no? So many other patterns run through nature, tracing other deep motions in life. Why not draw on them, too?

W. G. Sebald's Emigrants was the first novel to show Alison how forward momentum can be created by way of pattern, rather than the traditional arc--or, in nature, wave. Other writers of nonlinear prose considered in her "museum of specimens" include Nicholson Baker, Anne Carson, Marguerite Duras, Gabriel García Márquez, Jamaica Kincaid, Clarice Lispector, Susan Minot, David Mitchell, Caryl Phillips, and Mary Robison.

Meander, Spiral, Explode is a singular and brilliant elucidation of literary strategies that also brings high spirits and wit to its original conclusions. It is a liberating manifesto that says, Let's leave the outdated modes behind and, in thinking of new modes, bring feeling back to experimentation. It will appeal to serious readers and writers alike.

PLAYWRITING

PLAYWRITING

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For over two decades, Stephen Jeffreys' remarkable series of workshops attracted writers from all over the world and shaped the ideas of many of today's leading playwrights and theater-makers. Now, with this inspiring, highly practical book, you too can learn from these acclaimed masterclasses.

Playwriting reveals the various invisible frameworks and mechanisms that are at the heart of each and every successful play. Drawing on a huge range of sources, it deconstructs playwriting into its constituent parts, and offers illuminating insights into:

  • Structure--an in-depth exploration of the fundamental elements of drama, enabling you to choose instinctively the most effective structure for your play
  • Character--advice on how to generate and write credible characters by exploring their three essential dimensions: story, breadth, and depth
  • How to Write--techniques for writing great dialogue, dynamic scenes, and compelling subtext, including how to improve your writing by approaching it from unfamiliar directions
  • What to Write--how to adopt different approaches to finding your material and an exploration of the fundamental "Nine Stories," plus how to evaluate the potential of your ideas
  • Written by a true master of the craft, this authoritative guide will provide playwrights at every level of experience with a rich array of tools to apply to their own work.

    Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

    Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

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    Here's what started the phenomenon: the best seller, for over 15 years, that's been used by screenwriters around the world! Blake Snyder tells all in this fast, funny and candid look inside the movie business. "Save the Cat" is just one of many ironclad rules for making your ideas more marketable and your script more satisfying, including: The four elements of every winning logline The seven immutable laws of screenplay physics The 10 genres that every movie ever made can be categorized by -- and why they're important to your script Why your Hero must serve your Idea Mastering the 15 Beats Creating the "Perfect Beast" by using The Board to map 40 scenes with conflict and emotional change How to get back on track with proven rules for script repair This ultimate insider's guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a showbiz veteran who's proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat.
    Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark

    Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark

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    "Delightful." --Mary Norris, The New Yorker

    A page-turning, existential romp through the life and times of the world's most polarizing punctuation mark

    The semicolon. Stephen King, Hemingway, Vonnegut, and Orwell detest it. Herman Melville, Henry James, and Rebecca Solnit love it. But why? When is it effective? Have we been misusing it? Should we even care?

    In Semicolon, Cecelia Watson charts the rise and fall of this infamous punctuation mark, which for years was the trendiest one in the world of letters. But in the nineteenth century, as grammar books became all the rage, the rules of how we use language became both stricter and more confusing, with the semicolon a prime victim. Taking us on a breezy journey through a range of examples--from Milton's manuscripts to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letters from Birmingham Jail" to Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep--Watson reveals how traditional grammar rules make us less successful at communicating with each other than we'd think. Even the most die-hard grammar fanatics would be better served by tossing the rule books and learning a better way to engage with language.

    Through her rollicking biography of the semicolon, Watson writes a guide to grammar that explains why we don't need guides at all, and refocuses our attention on the deepest, most primary value of language: true communication.

    Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

    Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

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    "Charming and erudite, from the author of Enlightenment Now, The wit and insight and clarity he brings . . . is what makes this book such a gem." --Time.com

    Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing--and why should we care? From the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now.

    In this entertaining and eminently practical book, the cognitive scientist, dictionary consultant, and New York Times-bestselling author Steven Pinker rethinks the usage guide for the twenty-first century. Using examples of great and gruesome modern prose while avoiding the scolding tone and Spartan tastes of the classic manuals, he shows how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right. The Sense of Style is for writers of all kinds, and for readers who are interested in letters and literature and are curious about the ways in which the sciences of mind can illuminate how language works at its best.

    Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences

    Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences

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    In its heyday, sentence diagramming was wildly popular in grammar schools across the country. Kitty Burns Florey learned the method in sixth grade from Sister Bernadette: It was a bit like art, a bit like mathematics. It was a picture of language. I was hooked. Now, in this offbeat history, Florey explores the sentence-diagramming phenomenon, including its humble roots at the Brooklyn Polytechnic, its balloon diagram predecessor, and what diagrams of famous writers' sentences reveal about them. Along the way Florey offers up her own commonsense approach to learning and using good grammar. Charming, fun, and instructive, Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog will be treasured by all kinds of readers, from grumpy grammarians and crossword-puzzle aficionados to students of literature and lovers of language.
    Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook

    Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook

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    LEARN HOW TO WRITE LIKE THE EXPERTS, FROM THE EXPERTS.

    In Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook, you'll find practical advice in a perfect package for young aspiring writers.

    After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice, accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot,
    make revisions, and overcome writer's block. Fun writing prompts will help young writers jump-start their own projects, and encouragement throughout will keep them at work.

    STEERING THE CRAFT: A TWENTY-F

    STEERING THE CRAFT: A TWENTY-F

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    A revised and updated guide to the essentials of a writer's craft, presented by a brilliant practitioner of the art

    Completely revised and rewritten to address the challenges and opportunities of the modern era, this handbook is a short, deceptively simple guide to the craft of writing. Le Guin lays out ten chapters that address the most fundamental components of narrative, from the sound of language to sentence construction to point of view. Each chapter combines illustrative examples from the global canon with Le Guin's own witty commentary and an exercise that the writer can do solo or in a group. She also offers a comprehensive guide to working in writing groups, both actual and online.

    Masterly and concise, Steering the Craft deserves a place on every writer's shelf.

    Storycraft, Second Edition: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction

    Storycraft, Second Edition: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction

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    Jack Hart, master writing coach and former managing editor of the Oregonian, has guided several Pulitzer Prize-winning narratives to publication. Since its publication in 2011, his book Storycraft has become the definitive guide to crafting narrative nonfiction. This is the book to read to learn the art of storytelling as embodied in the work of writers such as David Grann, Mary Roach, Tracy Kidder, and John McPhee.
    In this new edition, Hart has expanded the book's range to delve into podcasting and has incorporated new insights from recent research into storytelling and the brain. He has also added dozens of new examples that illustrate effective narrative nonfiction.
    This edition of Storycraft is also paired with Wordcraft, a new incarnation of Hart's earlier book A Writer's Coach, now also available from Chicago.
    SUPPOSE A SENTENCE

    SUPPOSE A SENTENCE

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    A captivating meditation on the power of the sentence by the author of Essayism, a 2018 New Yorker book of the year.

    In Suppose a Sentence, Brian Dillon, whom John Banville has called "a literary flâneur in the tradition of Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin," has written a sequel of sorts to Essayism, turning his attention to the oblique and complex pleasures of the sentence. A series of essays prompted by a single sentence--from Shakespeare to James Baldwin, John Ruskin to Joan Didion--this new book explores style, voice, and language, along with the subjectivity of reading. Both an exercise in practical criticism and a set of experiments or challenges, Suppose a Sentence is a polemical and personal reflection on the art of the sentence in literature.

    SWIM IN A POND IN THE RAIN: IN

    SWIM IN A POND IN THE RAIN: IN

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    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From the Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves--and our world today.

    "One of the most accurate and beautiful depictions of what it is like to be inside the mind of a writer that I've ever read."--Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

    For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it's more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

    In his introduction, Saunders writes, "We're going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn't fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art--namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?" He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity.

    A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.

    WHERE THE PAST BEGINS

    WHERE THE PAST BEGINS

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    From New York Times bestselling author Amy Tan, a memoir about finding meaning in life through acts of creativity and imagination. As seen on PBS American Masters Unintended Memoir.

    In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan reveals the ways that our memories and personal experiences can inform our creative work. Drawing on her vivid impressions of her upbringing, Tan investigates the truths and inspirations behind her writing while illuminating how we all explore, confront, and process complex memories, especially half-forgotten ones from childhood.

    With candor, empathy, and humor, Tan sheds light on her own writing process, sharing her hard-won insights on the nature of creativity and inspiration while exploring the universal urge to examine truth through the workings of imagination--and what that imaginative world tells us about our own lives. Where the Past Begins is both a unique look into the mind of an extraordinary storyteller and an indispensable guide for writers, artists, and other creative thinkers.

    WIRED FOR STORY: THE WRITER'S

    WIRED FOR STORY: THE WRITER'S

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    This guide reveals how writers can utilize cognitive storytelling strategies to craft stories that ignite readers' brains and captivate them through each plot element.

    Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters, what fuels the success of any great story, and what keeps readers transfixed. Wired for Story reveals these cognitive secrets--and it's a game-changer for anyone who has ever set pen to paper.

    The vast majority of writing advice focuses on "writing well" as if it were the same as telling a great story. This is exactly where many aspiring writers fail--they strive for beautiful metaphors, authentic dialogue, and interesting characters, losing sight of the one thing that every engaging story must do: ignite the brain's hardwired desire to learn what happens next. When writers tap into the evolutionary purpose of story and electrify our curiosity, it triggers a delicious dopamine rush that tells us to pay attention. Without it, even the most perfect prose won't hold anyone's interest.

    Backed by recent breakthroughs in neuroscience as well as examples from novels, screenplays, and short stories, Wired for Story offers a revolutionary look at story as the brain experiences it. Each chapter zeroes in on an aspect of the brain, its corresponding revelation about story, and the way to apply it to your storytelling right now.

    WRITING LIFE

    WRITING LIFE

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    For nonwriters, it is a glimpse into the trials and satisfactions of a life spent with words. For writers, it is a warm, rambling, conversation with a stimulating and extraordinarily talented colleague. -- Chicago Tribune

    From Pulitzer Prize-winning Annie Dillard, a collection that illuminates the dedication and daring that characterizes a writer's life.

    In these short essays, Annie Dillard--the author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood--illuminates the dedication, absurdity, and daring that characterize the existence of a writer. A moving account of Dillard's own experiences while writing her works, The Writing Life offers deep insight into one of the most mysterious professions.