About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, & Five Interviews

Samuel R. Delany (Author)


Award-winning novelist Samuel R. Delany has written a book for creative writers to place alongside E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel and Lajos Egri's Art of Dramatic Writing. Taking up specifics (When do flashbacks work, and when should you avoid them? How do you make characters both vivid and sympathetic?) and generalities (How are novels structured? How do writers establish serious literary reputations today?), Delany also examines the condition of the contemporary creative writer and how it differs from that of the writer in the years of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and the high Modernists. Like a private writing tutorial, About Writing treats each topic with clarity and insight. Here is an indispensable companion for serious writers everywhere.

Product Details

$29.95  $27.55
Wesleyan University Press
Publish Date
January 04, 2006
5.08 X 1.17 X 8.02 inches | 1.04 pounds
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About the Author

SAMUEL R. DELANY has taught writers workshops for over 35 years, and has won the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime's contribution to gay and lesbian literature. He has also been recognized with both Hugo and Nebula awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Darkroom Black Students Collective at Harvard University. Delany is Professor of English and creative writing at Temple University, and lives in New York City.


"... should go on the short list of required reading for every would-be writer."--New York Times Book Review (on Of Doubts and Dreams in About Writing)

"Useful and thoughtful advice for aspiring (and practicing apprentice) authors. About Writing is autobiography, criticism, and a guidebook to good writing all in one."--Robert Elliot Fox, Professor of English, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

"If you are, like me, a writer--or if you are, also like me involved in the teaching of writing--you regularly find yourself reading books about writing because you are intent upon finding the perfect writer's instructional resource. Well, About Writing may, in fact, be that resource. Seven Essays focus on the different aspects of what Delany calls "the mechanics of fiction"; correspondence and interviews contain "advice on the art of fiction as well as [Delany's] views on the state of contemporary fictionThe result is a revelation on the art of fiction: how it is created, how the writer's image influences the perception of art, and how that art fits into today's world." Finally, About Writing contains 13 appendixes' each is an exquisite "mini-workshop," with topics such as "Grammar and Parts of Speech," "Dramatic Structure," "Point of View," and more. To some readers, Delany the novelist is linked to science fiction (he has won Hugo and Nebula awards), and to other readers, he is recognized as an innovative artist whose work has earned him the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime's contribution to gay and lesbian literature. However, as many students from Temple University and hundreds of writers' workshops already know. Delany is an inspiration and meticulous teacher who has taught creative writing for over 35 years. Now, because of this highly recommended collection, all writers--and teachers of writing--can enjoy and learn from Delany's indispensable guidance."--Multicultural Review

"Delany has certainly spent more time thinking about the process of generating narratives--and subsequently getting the fruits of his lucubrations down on paper--than any other writer in the genre. ...Delany's latest volume in this vein (About Writing) might be his best yet... Truly, as the jacket copy boasts, this book is the next best thing to taking one of Delany's courses... (R)eaders will find many answers here to the mysteries of getting words down on a page."--Paul DiFilippo, Asimov's Science Fiction

"... should go on the short list of required reading for every would-be writer."--New York Times Book Review (on "Of Doubts and Dreams" in About Writing)

"Enlightening and useful. I would place this book with Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury."--Gavin Grant, co-editor, The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror