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Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course

The Only Writing Book You’ll Ever Need

From the legendary creator of the Writer’s Loft in Chicago, comes a writing course for those who want to see results now. Immediate Fiction covers the entire process of writing including manuscript preparation, time management, finding an idea, getting words on the page, staying unblocked, and submitting to agents and publishers.

With insightful tips and advice, Jerry Cleaver helps writers manage doubts, fears, blocks, and panic all while helping to develop their writing in minutes a day. A practical and accessible resource, this book has everything the aspiring writer needs to write and sell novels, short stories, screenplays, and stage plays.

Musicians and artists might need talent to succeed, but writers don’t, says Jerry Cleaver in Immediate Fiction. Cleaver allows that talent is needed to win a National Book Award, say, but otherwise, any of us can do it. All we need is the ability to “develop and exercise sadistic license.” The operative word is conflict. As Cleaver puts it, “Happy lives make lousy novels…. If the characters are having a good time, the reader is not.” He takes the mystery out of fiction writing. You don’t have to write about what you know, he says; write what you can imagine. Don’t fret if you can’t find large chunks of time to write. Start with five minutes on weekdays and 20 on weekends, and you’ll have 100 to 300 pages by year’s end. Perhaps most refreshing about Cleaver’s approach is the lack of directives. Some writing instructors demand that you work with an outline; others forbid it. Cleaver claims that teachers who tell you to do it one way or the other are telling you not how you work best, but how they work best. –Jane Steinberg

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2 comments to Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course

  • David Tortuga

    At Last Something Substantial I graduated a couple of years ago from a university that specializes in cranking out creative writers. (I apologize if I have not successfully masked my deep bitterness; usually I do a decent job of appearing well-adjusted.) I learned more from reading this book than I learned from four long years of higher learning. Mr. Cleaver is not vague. Somehow he managed to come up with a detailed, specific answer for each one of the countless questions I had when I began reading his book. (What constitutes conflict? What is the best way to end a chapter? What are the most common pitfalls, and how can I avoid them? And on and on!) If you are serious about amounting to anything as a writer, you need to read IMMEDIATE FICTION. The author’s instruction and advice leave no stone unturned. There is no comparable book out there on this subject, with the possible exception of Dorothea Brande’s classic BECOMING A WRITER. Yes, come to think of it, you should probably pick up that one, too. Five stars for both of them!

  • john r swift

    If you want to become a writer….. If you want to become a better writer or a more critical reader, buy this book. Most offerings in this genre resemble a well picked over smorgasbord in which one finds a few good tips among acres of wilted lettuce. What remains of the main course, conflict creation, resolution and character development is incoherently scattered among the weeds. Cleaver gets it right by giving us a complete road map to writing, self-editing and publishing fiction. He shows how to convert your onmiscient narrator essays into scenes and dialogue that drive the plot, develop character(and keep the reader’s attention), how to replace those “telling” images of emotion(e.g.,”icy stab in the stomach”) with “showing” the emotion through thought and dialogue. Not only is this book a “sine qua non” for writer’s, it is a fun read.

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