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Book Title

The Half-Known World

On Writing Fiction
Author 1
Robert Boswell
Like sex, reading is both a simple delight and a complex one, a nearly effortless pleasure that nonetheless rewards study and labor. Writing falls within the same general category--an activity that provides immediate booty and yet stands up to years of investigation.

Robert Boswell has been writing, reading, and teaching literature for over twenty years. His experience has taught him many pertinent--and unexpected--lessons about the workings of fiction. In this sparkling collection of essays, he shares his insights with wit, clarity, and intelligence.

Boswell urges writers not to know their characters--instead of compiling lists of characters' physical attributes and personal belongings, he suggests asking more provocative questions such as 'What did your character forget to do this morning? If you met your character in a bar, what would he think of you?' He highlights the successful strategies of such masters as Tolstoy, Flannery O'Connor, and Alice Munro, and muses on the uses of omniscience and the problems of the political novel.

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5 1/2 x 8 1/4
A series of practical tips for the serious writer by Robert Boswell, "one of America's finest writers"—Tom Perrotta

About the Author

Robert  Boswell
Credit: Bill Faulkner
Robert Boswell is the author of twelve books, including Tumbledown and The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards. He teaches at the University of Houston, where he holds the Cullen Endowed Chair in Creative Writing.
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  • "There is wisdom to spare in this insightful, moving, and challenging book."—Mid-American Review 
  • "The Half-Known World will prove to be a fascinating and educative read for anyone who aspires to literary success as a writer of deftly crafted fiction."—Midwest Book Review
  • "Boswell's willingness to delve into the half-known aspects of his own life in this fashion allows him to put his money where his mouth is when he talks about fiction. He doesn't sit back and pontificate, but sets himself on a level ground with his readers by stressing his humanity rather than his status as a celebrated author. . . [The Half-Known World] is a must-read for aspiring writers who are thinking about giving up, or of not embarking on the journey at all."—Writers Read
  • The Half-Known World is successful and enjoyable to read because it gives advice on writing that doesn't feel weighed down in rhetoric or formal language; rather, one feels like he or she has been conversing with a good friend on writing fiction upon finishing the book."—Big Muddy
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