How Fiction Works

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Over the Past 25 Years, the Big Publishers Got Bigger—and Fewer A report from Publishers Weekly: As 2022 began, the U.S. trade publishing business was dominated by what has been called the Big Five—Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan. Before the Penguin–Random House merger in 2013, that group was …

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An In-Depth Guide to Book Sizes Every once in a while I come across a book that isn’t a standard size. That difference may not seem important, but it can make shelving the book difficult if you want to put it in with, say, other books by the same author. Category: Publishing People Are Sharing …

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Discussion

What Makes a Good Twist Ending?

Introduction I still remember the experience of first seeing the movie Planet of the Apes (the original 1968 version starring Charlton Heston). As the movie ended, Taylor (the astronaut played by Heston) and Nova rode off on a horse in search of a new place to live. As they rode along the beach, the camera …

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stack of 3 books plus open book with pen. Title: 5 Effective Multiple-Perspective Novels

5 Effective Multiple-Perspective Novels

“There are many reasons I love novels with multiple narratives. In novels where the events are filtered through the consciousness of a single ‘reliable’ narrator, I often wonder; is this the whole story? What could be missing here? Truth is often a multiplicity of perspectives, and sometimes the more viewpoints and versions of events there …

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Making Story Structure Your Own I’ve recently been working on reviews of two Big Books: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (530 pages) To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (704 pages) Big Books contain so much that finding a way into discussing them is often a challenge. For both of these novels I’ve …

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Writers’ Inner Voices Many writers report vivid experiences of ‘hearing’ the voices of the characters they create and having characters who talk back to them, rebel, and ‘do their own thing’. It’s an experience described by a wide range of authors from Enid Blyton, Alice Walker, Quentin Tarantino and Charles Dickens through to Samuel Beckett, …

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How Crime Writers Use Unreliable Narrators to Add Suspense Emily Martin uses the categories that William Riggan explores in his book Pícaros, Madmen, Naifs, and Clowns: The Unreliable First-Person Narrator to look at ways crime writers employ them to build suspense. The 2021 Tournament of Books Long List Next March’s Tournament of Books, something that …

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See What the World’s Reading Habits Look Like in 2020 The editing and proofreading service Global English Editing gathered statistics from various sources, including Pew Research and Amazon’s bestsellers page, that demonstrate how the world’s reading habits changed over the course of 2020: “35 percent of web users worldwide reported reading more during the pandemic, …

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Mixing Genres Is All About Messing with Structure “Knowing what people are expecting allows you to subvert the trope. Expectation is its own red herring, built right into your reader.” Stuart Turton, author of the brilliant The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and newly released The Devil and The Dark Water, admits, “I’m obsessed by …

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When Mums Go Bad: How Fiction Became Obsessed With The Dark Side Of Motherhood “Motherhood and ‘mum noir’ is taking over the psychological suspense shelves, but some portrayals have come in for criticism. Author Caroline Corcoran looks into the trend…” I read a lot of psychological thrillers and mysteries, and women-centered stories have for several …

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