A Kite in the Wind
Fiction Writers on Their Craft
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A Kite in the Wind is an anthology of essays by 20 veteran writers and master teachers. While the contributors offer specific, practical advice on such fundamental aspects of craft as characterization, character names, the first person point of view, and unreliable narrators, they also give extended, thoughtful consideration to more sophisticated topics, including "imminence," or the power of a sense of beginning; creating and maintaining tension; "lushness"; and the deliberate manipulation of information to create particular effects. The essays in A Kite in the Wind begin as personal investigations -- attempts to understand why a decision in a particular story or novel seemed unsuccessful; to define a quality or problem that seemed either unrecognized or unsatisfactorily defined; to understand what, despite years of experience as a fiction writer, resisted comprehension; and to pursue haunting, even unanswerable questions. Unlike a how-to book, the anthology is less an instruction manual than it is an intimate visit with twenty very different writers as they explore topics that excite, intrigue, and even puzzle them. Each discussion uses specific examples and illustrations, including both canonical stories and novels and writing less frequently discussed, from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, by both American and international authors. The contributors share their hard-earned insights for beginning and advanced writers with humility, wit, and compassion. The first section of the book focuses on narration, with particular attention paid to various kinds of narrators; the second, on strategic creation and presentation of character; the third, on some of the roles of the visual, beginning with establishing setting; and the fourth, on structural and organizational issues, from movement through time to the manipulation of information to create mystery and suspense. Contributors include Wilton Barnhardt, Andrea Barrett, Charles Baxter, Karen Brennan, Maud Casey, Lan Samantha Chang, Robert Cohen, Stacey D'Erasmo, Judy Doenges, Anthony Doerr, C. J. Hribal, Michael Martone, Kevin McIlvoy, Alexander Parsons, Frederick Reiken, Steven Schwartz, Dominic Smith, Debra Spark, Megan Staffel, Sarah Stone, and Peter Turchi.
Trinity University Press, 9781595340726, 343pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
About the Author
Called "one of the country's foremost thinkers on the art of writing" by the Houston Chronicle, Peter Turchi's books include Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer; Suburban Journals: The Sketchbooks, Drawings, and Prints of Charles Ritchie, in collaboration with the artist; a novel, The Girls Next Door; and a collection of stories, Magician. Turchi's short story "Night, Truck, Two Lights Burning," listed as one of 100 Notable Stories of 2002 by the editors of Best American Short Stories and one of 15 Recommended Stories by the jury for the O. Henry Prize Stories, has been published in Arabic and, in English, combined with images by Charles Ritchie, in a limited edition artist's book. He has also coedited, with Andrea Barrett, A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft and The Story Behind the Story: 26 Stories by Contemporary Writers and How They Work; and, with Charles Baxter, Bringing the Devil to His Knees: The Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life. Turchi's stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Story, the Alaska Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, and the Colorado Review. He has received Washington College's Sophie Kerr Prize, an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award, North Carolina's Sir Walter Raleigh Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. From 1993 to 2008 he directed the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Turchi recently taught at Arizona State University, where he was director of the creative writing program, and he's currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Houston.