A Commotion in Your Heart: Notes on Writing and Life

Barbara Shoup (Author)


"A book that should be on every writer's bookshelf, next to Bird by Bird, Writing Down the Bones, and Welty's One Writer's Beginnings." -SJ Rozan, best-selling author of Paper Son

For writers of fiction, creative nonfiction, autobiography and memoir, and from amateurs to professionals, this book about the creative process is a book for writers everywhere interested in learning more about the craft of writing. A perfect gift for writers of all ages and levels of experience, A Commotion in Your Heart: Notes on Writing and Life takes the reader from the author's childhood dream of being a writer through the ups and downs of publishing. She tells her story with highly relatable vignettes that focus on her own personal moments of clarity about what writing is (and what writing isn't), sharing the pleasures and lessons of more than 40 years of experience teaching writing.

Part memoir and part writing workshop, A Commotion in Your Heart: Notes on Writing and Life offers writing inspiration and practical advice for authors at every stage of their writing journey. This collection of 37 essays includes:

  • Chasing the Muse
  • But That's How It Happened
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Writing
  • Working (a Jigsaw)
  • The Voices in My Head
  • (Maybe) Don't Quite Your Day Job
  • The Revision Toolkit
  • and much more!

With short, easy to read chapters, A Commotion in Your Heart: Notes on Writing and Life will inspire veteran authors as well as beginning writers just getting started. And when writing is especially difficult, or when writer's block sets in, award-winning author Barbara Shoup is full of encouraging wisdom.

A Commotion in Your Heart: Notes on Writing and Life is for anyone who understands that writing isn't just a hobby... It's a necessary part of living fully.

Product Details

Publish Date
August 26, 2019
5.24 X 0.39 X 7.99 inches | 0.44 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Barbara Shoup is an award winning, multi-genre author who served for many years as Executive Director of the Indiana Writers Center and has taught the craft of writing for over 40 years. She has penned eight novels and co-authored Novel Ideas, a highly acclaimed, definitive guide for aspiring novelists on how to write great fiction.

Barbara's young adult novels Wish You Were Here and Stranded in Harmony were selected as the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults. Her novel Vermeer's Daughter was a School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Young Adults. She was also the recipient of the 2006 PEN Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Praise for A Commotion in Your Heart

"A Commotion in Your Heart: Notes on Writing and Life is a book I didn't know I needed until I read it. I felt as if Barbara Shoup was with me at the local coffee shop, offering suggestions on how to approach this road block or another so that I may keep moving forward with my writing. Readers will be drawn in by Shoup's voice, but they'll keep turning pages because of how effortlessly she offers insight into the writing practice by sharing all she has learned from writing and publishing eight books. In fact, it is the way she uses her own work to illustrate her advice that makes Commotion stand out and will inspire every writer now matter where they are with their work."
-Melissa Fraterrigo, author of Glory Days

"Barbara Shoup is one of the best writing teachers I know, and also a kick-ass writer herself. This book of writing advice from her is something all writers, aspiring and experienced, will want. Don't pass it by."
-SJ Rozan, best-selling author of Paper Son

"A Commotion in Your Heart is a book that should be on every writer's bookshelf, next to Bird by Bird, Writing Down the Bones, and Welty's One Writer's Beginnings. Reading it is like having a writing partner who hands you tools but also knows exactly what you're going through at every stage of the process and inspires with her tenacity, wisdom, and humor. All writers, no matter how new or how experienced, will find something they need within these pages."
-Susan Neville, author of Iconography: A Writer's Meditation

Praise for Barbara Shoup's Novel Ideas

"Novel Ideas is one of the most useful writing texts I've encountered in twelve years of teaching. The interviews have an appealing personality and intimacy but also serve as gateways to discussing more universal concerns of process and craft. I'm thrilled about the prospect of reintroducing this text to my students."
--Elise Juska, author of One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

"I've always loved this book and find it to be very useful when writing and revising my own novels. I've read nearly every novel-writing book out there, and this is the best by far."
--Elizabeth Stuckey-French, co-author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

"Novel Ideas is the real thing the editors offer an excellent crash course on how to write a novel, and the contemporary novelists they interview offer advice, insight, consolation, inspiration, and (above all) stories about stories. I can't imagine a writer who wouldn't find this book useful, or a reader who wouldn't find it stimulating and provocative."
-Robert Hellenga, author of The Italian Lover

"Many texts exist on writing the short story, but there are few useful ones about its less predictable cousin, the novel. This valuable book includes general fiction principles but then expands to the particular testimony of contemporary authors discussing how they wrote their well-known novels. The result for readers, writers, and writing teachers is not a cookbook but a bountiful literary feast."
--Doris Betts, author of Heading West