Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide For Intermediate And Advanced Writers

Paperback | October 5, 2004

bySarah Stone, Ron Nyren

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This intermediate/advanced guide to writing fiction emphasizes the revision process and uses craft discussions, exercises, and diverse examples to show the artistic implications of writing choices. This book addresses the major elements of fiction. Numerous examples, questions, and exercises throughout the book help readers reflect upon and explore writing possibilities. The mini-anthology includes a variety of interesting, illustrative, and diverse stories—North American and international, contemporary and classic, realistic and experimental.

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This intermediate/advanced guide to writing fiction emphasizes the revision process and uses craft discussions, exercises, and diverse examples to show the artistic implications of writing choices. This book addresses the major elements of fiction. Numerous examples, questions, and exercises throughout the book help readers reflect upo...

From the Jacket

This intermediate/advanced guide to writing fiction emphasizes the revision process and uses craft discussions, exercises, and diverse examples to show the artistic implications of writing choices. This book addresses the major elements of fiction. Numerous examples, questions, and exercises throughout the book help readers reflect upo...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 9.1 × 6.69 × 0.84 inPublished:October 5, 2004Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:032119537X

ISBN - 13:9780321195371

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Information technology continues to change many aspects of society, including health care and its delivery. In Information Technology for the Health Professions, we take a practical approach to introducing health care professionals to the myriad uses of computer technology in health care fields. After a brief introduction to the essential concepts needed to understand computer hardware, software, telecommunications, and the privacy and security of information, we see how these technologies have affected various aspects of health care. The term information technology includes not only computers, but also communications networks and computer literacy, that is, knowledge of the uses of computer technology. Rapidly changing computer technology continues to exert a major influence on all aspects of society. The understanding of the interconnections of hardware, software, networks, and new medical techniques is essential. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION The second edition of Information Technology for the Health Professions has been expanded and updated for the new millennium. It includes new sections on recent technological developments and their uses in health care and its delivery, on new laws affecting privacy and security of medical information, an expanded chapter on medical informatics and the administrative uses of computers, and a new chapter on computer technology in dentistry. Dated materials have been deleted. Although Information Technology is geared to an audience interested in health care, it is written at a level appropriate for the layperson. Chapter 1: Introduction to Information Technology—Hardware, Software, and Telecommunications The first three chapters of the first edition on computer literacy, computer hardware and software, and networking and telecommunications have been condensed, keeping only information essential to students and others interested in computers and health care. These chapters have been combined into a new Chapter 1, which provides the student with information necessary to anyone living and working in a computerized society. Chapter 2: Security and Privacy in an Electronic Age Chapter 2 deals with the problems of security and privacy of information in electronic form and on networks. Both general issues of security and privacy in an electronic age and problems specific to health care are discussed. New issues of security and privacy are raised by new laws. The student is introduced to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) that provides the first national minimum standards for the privacy of medical information. The book also deals with the effects of the USA Patriot Act on medical privacy. Chapter 3: An Introduction to Medical Informatics and the Administrative Applications of Computers Chapter 3 is an expanded introduction to medical informatics—the use of technology to organize information in health care. The student is introduced to the traditional classifications of clinical uses of computers (used in direct patient care); administrative uses of computers used in office administration, financial planning, billing, and scheduling; and the special purpose uses of computers in education and pharmacy. The chapter has an expanded section on the administrative uses of computers discussing the computerization of tasks in the medical office, the electronic medical record, and bucket billing. It also introduces the student to grouping and coding systems, insurance, and the various accounting reports used in the health care environment. Chapter 4: Telemedicine Chapter 4 deals with telemedicine and its rapid expansion. Telecommunications and connectivity have made possible telemedicine, from the simple sharing of patient records or X-rays over networks, to distance exams, to remote operation of medical instruments, to teleconferencing. The earliest telemedicine used store-andforward technology to send images. This is still used in teleradiology, telepathology, teledermatology, telestroke programs, and telecardiology programs. Interactive videoconferencing allows a medical exam in real time—with all participants seeing and hearing each other. Chapter 5: Information Technology in Radiology Chapter 5 introduces the student to digital imaging techniques. Digital images (CT scans, MRIs, PET scans) are more precise than the traditional X-ray. The CT (computerized tomography) scan and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) have become standard diagnostic tools. PET scans (positron emission tomography) allow the physician to examine the electrical and chemical processes in the brain. Currently interventional radiologists treat diseases that once required traditional surgery. Chapter 6: Information Technology in Dentistry A new chapter that surveys computer technology in dentistry has been added. Dentistry is changing due to changing demographics and the introduction of new computer-based techniques. During the second half of the twentieth century, dental care allowed most children to grow up with healthy teeth. Now good dental care prevents cavities in children who can afford it. An aging population seeks dental care for many reasons, including cavities, periodontal disease, and cosmetics. The fully computerized dentist's office uses the electronic medical record to integrate all aspects of care. Chapter 7: Information Technology in Surgery Chapter 7 surveys the uses of computers in surgery. Computers are used in surgery from the teaching and planning stages to the actual use of robotic devices in the operating room. Computer simulations help in the training of students. Minimally invasive, endoscopic surgery makes use of robotic devices to hold the endoscope. Chapter 8: Information Technology in Pharmacy The use of computer technology in pharmacy has traditionally been considered a special purpose application. Today, information technology is involved with medication from its design to its administration. The development of medications for the treatment of genetically-based diseases is slowly becoming a reality because of the knowledge gained through the Human Genome Project. Supercomputers, using special software, are now being used to design new medications. Software packages allow pharmacies to print out extensive drug descriptions along with side effects and interaction warnings that accompany prescription medications. Computerized infusion pumps automatically administer medication. The networking of medical devices allows a monitoring device to communicate with a drug delivery device. Robots are being used to fill prescriptions and count out capsules and tablets. Telepharmacy is expanding due to a shortage of pharmacists, a drive to cut costs, and the interest of the U.S. Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, and Immigration and Naturalization Service. Chapter 9: Computerized Medical Devices, Assistive Technology, and Prosthetic Devices Computer controlled medical devices include the most established clinical use of computers—the use of computerized monitoring devices. For people with disabilities, adaptive technology can make an independent life a reality. Electronic prosthetics refer to computerized replacement body parts. An artificial limb designed with the help of a computer with embedded microprocessor chips can sense and react to nerve signals. It can work like a natural limb so that a person with an electronic prosthetic foot can even participate in college sports. Some devices, such as pacemakers, make use of the technology called functional electrical stimulation, which delivers low-level electrical stimulation to muscles. Chapter 10: Informational Resources: Computer-Assisted Instruction, Expert Systems, and Health Information Online Computer-assisted instruction, both drill-and-practice and simulation, has long been used to educate patients and practitioners. Currently programs make use of virtual reality techniques, so the student actually feels the experience of performing a medical procedure. Online medical literature databases aid in both academic research and diagnosing patients. Expert systems try to make a computer an "expert" in one field. Interactive self-help applications include both self-help software and the use of the Internet for medical advice. Advice and information on every aspect of health care, every drug, and every disease is on the Internet. Chapter 11: Conclusion and Future Directions Computer technology is continuing to have an enormous impact on health care fields. Today, medical technology is in a constant state of flux. Whole new fields, such as telemedicine, are emerging and changing the way medicine is practiced. The future may hold unbelievable techniques and devices. Electronic brain implants are in their infancy, holding the promise of communication for locked-in patients as well as the threat of mind control. Other devices are currently in the testing stages. Not only are sensors being developed to help paralyzed patients move. In the future, nanotechnology may diagnose and treat disease at the molecular level.

Table of Contents


I. Intermediate and Advanced Approaches to Fiction-Writing.

1. Developing and Complicating Characters.

Generating characters.

    Inhabiting characters.

    Representing characters.

    Character history/background/connections.

Story analysis and questions: “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.”

Connecting character to story.

    Motivation and action.

    Active and passive main characters.

Relating characters to each other.

Story analysis and questions: “The Forest.”

Complicating characters.

    Sympathetic and unsympathetic characters.

    Rethinking “heroes,“ “victims,“ and “villains.”

Restraint in writing emotion.

Story analysis and questions: “Powder.”

Revision: Bringing characters into focus.

Character exercises.

2. Third-Person POVs and Degrees of Omniscience.

The centrality of POV.

    Real-world POV decisions.

    Complicating POV: beyond first, second, and third.

Aspects of third-person POV.

Story analysis and questions: “The Niece.”

Variations of common POV choices.

    Objective narrators.

    Close third-person POV (third person limited).

    Discerning third-person POV (third person flexible).

    Degrees of omniscience.

Story analysis and questions: “Inferno I, 32.”

Effectively breaking POV rules.

Story analysis and questions: “Gooseberries.”

Revision: Making subtle POV shifts.

POV exercises.

3. The Uses of First and Second Person.

Stories that require first-person narrators.

Aspects of first-person POV.

Motives for telling the story.

    Understanding the past.

    Applying perspective.

Story analysis and questions: “The Turkey Season.”

The versatility of second person.

    Disguised first person.

    Direct address and second-person narrators.

Story analysis and questions: “Trauma Plate.”

Revision: Making major POV changes.

POV exercises.

4. Plot, Narrative Drive, and Alternative Story Structures.

Reclaiming the pleasures of plot.

    Classical plot structures.

    Plots and subplots.

Story analysis and questions: “Father.”

Narrative drive and meaning.

    Forward and backward movement.

    Actual and emotional plots.

Story analysis and questions: “Photograph of Luisa.”

Advancing plot through dialogue and exposition.

Plot in literary and genre writing.

Alternate and experimental structures.

    Non-linear story structures.

    Image as structure.

Story analysis and questions: “Graffiti.”

Revision: How structure emerges through multiple revisions.

Plot and structure exercises.

5. Time in Fiction: Scene, Summary, Flashbacks, Backstory, and Transitions.

Setting the story's time span.

Scene and summary in draft and revision.

    Action, description, and dialogue.

    Compelling summaries.

    Summary within scenes.

Story analysis and questions: “The Eve of the Spirit Festival.”

Moving through time.

    White space and transitional phrases.

    Flashbacks and backstory.

Story analysis and questions: “The Rooster and the Dancing Girl.”

Revision: Experimenting with time.

Time exercises.

6. Discovering the Story's Subject: Material and Subject Matter.

Ways for writers to identify their own material.

    Repetition and variation in a writer's material.

    The difference between a subject and a “theme.”

    Psychological and situational subject matters.

Story analysis and questions: “A Wagner Matinee.”

Taking risks with subject matter.

    Ordinary subject matter: beyond the trivial.

    Dramatic subject matter: power vs. sentiment.

    Transgressive subject matter: crossing boundaries.

    Nonrealistic subject matter: the literary fantastic.

Story analysis and questions: “Car Crash While Hitchhiking.”

Revision: Discovering the story's true subject.

Subject matter exercises.

7. Macrosetting, Microsetting, and Detail.

Re-seeing familiar settings.

Macrosetting, microsetting, and detail.

Essential and arbitrary settings.

    Maximalist settings.

    Minimalist settings.

Story analysis and questions: “The Fence Party.”

The possibilities of detail.

    Point of view and detail.

    Symbolic detail.

Story analysis and questions: “Pilgrims.”

Revision: Inhabiting places.

Setting exercises.

8. Society, Culture, and Context: Research and the Imagination.

Creating context.

    Using research to enlarge subject matter.

    Work and leisure.

Story analysis and questions: “Orientation.”

Art, science, and other fields of inquiry.

Story analysis and questions: “Di Grasso: A Story of Odessa.”

    History, biography, other cultures.

    Religion and politics.

Story analysis and questions: “Civil Peace.”

Revision: Contextualizing the story.

Society exercises.

9. Style and Dialogue.

The writer's style.

    Word choice.

    Tone and vision.

    Figurative language.

    Sentence and paragraph work.

Story analysis and questions: “The Cures for Love.”

Dialogue and subtext.

    Dialogue rhythms and styles.

    Dialogue tags and accompanying actions.

Story analysis and questions: “A Conversation with My Father.”

Revision: Line-editing.

Style and dialogue exercises.

10. Revision: Beginnings, Middles, and Endings.

The writing room.

    Giving and receiving criticism: the workshop.

    Ways of reentering a story.

Deep revision.


    The creative beginning and the literal beginning.

    Setting up the story.

Story analysis and questions: Three beginnings.



    Inevitable surprises.

Story analysis and questions: Three endings.

Common pitfalls in beginnings and endings.

Revision exercises.

II. Mini-Anthology of Stories.

Chinua Achebe, “Civil Peace.”

Isaac Babel, “Di Grasso: A Tale of Odessa.”

Andrea Barrett, “The Forest.”

Charles Baxter, “The Cures for Love.”

Jorge Luis Borges, “Inferno I, 32.”

Willa Cather, “A Wagner Matinee.”

Lan Samantha Chang, “The Eve of the Spirit Festival.”

Anton Chekhov, “Gooseberries.”

Julio Cortàzar, “Graffiti.”

Adam Johnson, “Trauma Plate.”

Denis Johnson, “Car Crash While Hitchhiking.”

Yasunari Kawabata, “The Rooster and the Dancing Girl.”

John L'Heureux, “Father.”

Margot Livesey, “The Niece“.

Alice Munro, “The Turkey Season.”

Daniel Orozco, “Orientation.”

Julie Orringer, “Pilgrims.”

ZZ Packer, “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.”

Grace Paley, “A Conversation With My Father.”

Melissa Pritchard, “Photograph of Luisa.”

Elizabeth Tallent, “The Fence Party.”

Tobias Wolff, “Powder.”


Talent and Habit.

Writer's Block.

Rejection, Publication, and Endurance.


A Writer's Glossary.

Suggestions for Further Reading .

Anthology Bios.