Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process

Barbara Shoup (Author) Margaret-Love Denman (Author)
& 20 more


Novel Ideas provides a substantial introduction to the elements of fiction followed by in-depth interviews with successful novelists who speak with candor and insight into the complex process by which a novel is made. This edition includes new and updated interviews as well as writing exercises to enhance its use in the writing classroom.

Dorothy Allison recalls "deliciously self-indulgent" days of writing in her bathrobe, wrapped in misery and exultation; Peter Cameron explains how he made the move from short fiction to the novel with the aid of a music composer's notebook to track the movement of his characters. Writers as different as Ha Jin, Jill McCorkle, Richard Ford, and Michael Chabon describe their unique approaches to their work while consistently affirming the necessity of committing to the hard effort of it while also remaining open to surprise.

Aspiring novelists will find hands-on strategies for beginning, working through, and revising a novel; accomplished novelists will discover new ways to solve the problems they face in process; and serious readers of contemporary fiction will enjoy a glimpse into the way novels are made.

Includes interviews with: Dorothy AllisonLarry BrownPeter CameronMichael ChabonMichael CunninghamRobb Forman DewRichard FordHa JinPatricia HenleyCharles JohnsonWally LambValerie MartinJill McCorkleSena Jeter NaslundLewis NordanSheri ReynoldsS. J. RozanJane SmileyLee SmithTheodore Weesner

Product Details

University of Georgia Press
Publish Date
March 01, 2009
6.0 X 0.89 X 8.96 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author

Barbara Shoup (Author)
BARBARA SHOUP is the author of six novels, including Everything You Want. She is associate faculty at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis and program director for the Writers' Center of Indiana.

Margaret-Love Denman (Author)
MARGARET-LOVE DENMAN is the author of two novels, including Daily, Before Your Eyes. She is the coordinator of off-campus writing programs at the University of Mississippi. Denman was the director of the creative writing program at the University of New Hampshire for twelve years.


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 "

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 "coauthor of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft "

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 "