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Your First Page

Description Your First Page is unlike any other craft book on writing. It is based on the premise that almost everything that can go right or wrong in a work of fiction or memoir goes wrong or right on the first page. The book grew out of an experiment for which writers submitted nearly one hundred anonymous first pages of works-in-progress for analysis. The experiment proved two things: that first pages function like canaries in coalmines, forecasting success or predicting trouble. They establish the crucial bond between writer and reader, setting us off on a path toward the heart or climax of a story, or they fail to do so. The experiment also demonstrated that from first pages we stand to learn most of what we need to know to succeed as authors. About the Author Peter Selgin is the author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. He has written a novel, two other books on the writer’s craft, an essay collection, and several children’s books. His recent memoir, The Inventors, was named one of the best memoirs of 2016 by Library Journal. Of it the reviewer wrote, “It is a book destined to become a modern classic.” His stories and essays have appeared in The Missouri Review, Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Poets & Writers, and other journals, and have been featured in Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing. His plays have been published and produced nationally. A visual artist as well as a writer, his work has been featured in The New Yorker and other publications. He is an affiliate faculty member of Antioch University’s low-residency MFA writing program in Los Angeles and an Associate Professor of English at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, where he serves as nonfiction editor and art director of Arts & Letters. Praise “The straightforward premise of Peter Selgin’s Your First Page — your story or novel is as good as its first page—is ingenious, seductive and bracingly pragmatic. A boon for teachers of writing, this charming, immensely readable handbook on writing is destined to appear in countless libraries and classrooms and be given treasured space on the bookshelves of seasoned and aspiring writers alike. Read more…

By Cunning & Craft: Practical Wisdom for Fiction Writers

Writing successful fiction is a balance between trusting one’s own instincts and making the right conscious choices. In By Cunning & Craft, award-winning novelist and short-story writer Peter Selgin shows you how to combine the instinctive process of creation with sound technical ingenuity. With precise instruction and examples from classic and best-selling works, this authoritative guide helps you master all the essential fiction-wiring elements. Whether you’re facing the blank pages of a first draft or trying to revise a completed manuscript, By Cunning & Craft provides you with the guidance you need to outfox common writing pitfalls and make sure your work isn’t wanting in wit—or perfection. Read more…