You Must Be This Tall to Ride (Paperback)

Contemporary Writers Take You Inside the Story

By B. J. Hollars

Writer's Digest Books, 9781582975740, 293pp.

Publication Date: May 27, 2009

List Price: 18.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Compelling stories have the power to generate infinite wonder: It's nearly impossible to imagine how the author began, and yet we sense there's much more beyond the final word. It's this mysterya combination of inspiration and craft, smoke and mirrorsthat makes writing feel momentous. But it can also feel overwhelming, causing us to become small, scared, not quite ready for the "big" rides, such as finishing that story, that novel, and finding the courage to share it with the world.

In You Must Be This Tall to Ride, you'll find 20 works of fiction and nonfiction by acclaimed contemporary authors, each offering fresh perspective on ''coming of age'' (a story to which we can all relate), as well as exclusive personal essays and practical exercises.

In their own words, these writers grant you a guided tour of craft with unparalleled access to the process behind their creation, including how to:
  • grow a story from the seed of an image or sentence
  • allow experiments with language to lead you to plot
  • turn even the most unlikely characters into heroes
  • transform raw anecdotes from your own life into compelling fiction and essay

Join 20 writers as we grow up and down, taking a rollercoaster ride in stories. You'll not only begin to understand what makes the wheels of a story turn, you'll also gain the tools and strategies to transform lost characters and runaway plots into the greatest show on earth. So go ahead, step right up. Listen for the calliope music, and take your place in line.

Your ride has just begun.

  • Steve Almond
  • Aimee Bender
  • Kate Bernheimer
  • Ryan Boudinot
  • Judy Budnitz
  • Dan Chaon
  • Brock Clarke
  • Michael Czyzniejewski
  • Stuart Dybek
  • Michael Martone
  • Antonya Nelson
  • Peter Orner
  • Jack Pendarvis
  • Benjamin Percy
  • Andrew Porter
  • Chad Simpson
  • George Singleton
  • Brady Udall
  • Laura van den Berg
  • Ryan Van Meter

About the Author

B.J. Hollars of Fort Wayne, Indiana is working on his MFA in writing at the University of Alabama where he has served as nonfiction editor and assistant fiction editor for Black Warrior Review. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adirondack Review, Puerto del Sol, The Evansville Review, Memorious, and other literary journals.