The Secret Miracle The Novelist's Handbook

Daniel Alarcon, Ed.

St. Martin's Griffin

0805087141

9780805087147

Trade Paperback

368 Pages

$19.99

Request Exam Copy Request Desk Copy

Drawing back the curtain on the mysterious process of writing novels, The Secret Miracle brings together the world's best contemporary writers, the foremost practitioners of the craft to discuss how they write. Michael Chabon, Claire Messud, Jonathan Lethem, Amy Tan, Paul Auster, Roddy Doyle, Allegra Goodman, Aleksandar Hemon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Haruki Murakami, George Pelecanos, Gary Shteyngart, and others take students step by step through the alchemy of writing fiction, answering everything from nuts-and-bolts queries—“Do you outline?”—to perennial questions posed by writers and readers alike: “What makes a character compelling?”

From Stephen King’s deadpan distinction between novels and short stories (“Novels are longer and have more s**t in them”) to Colm Toibin’s anti-romanticized take on his characters (“They are just words”) to José Manuel Prieto’s mature perspective on the anxieties of influence (“Influences are felt or weigh you down more when young”), The Secret Miracle presents an insightful, honest, humorous, and oft-surprising master class workshop on the art of writing fiction.

REVIEWS

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

The Secret Miracle
CHAPTER 1READING AND INFLUENCESWHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A NOVEL? 
SUSAN MINOT: Transport. Enchantment. Guidance. Pleasure. Beauty. Novelty. Entertainment. Charm. Poetry. Truth. Solace. Wit. Wisdom. 
MARIO VARGAS LLOSA: I look for the same thing that I try to achieve when writing a novel--a well-told story. I believe that is the most difficult thing, to tell a story in an absolutely persuasive manner. To make readers live that experience--not just as readers, but to really experience it. For me the novels that achieve that are the most moving and leave a lasting
Read the full excerpt
BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Daniel Alarcon, Ed.

  • Daniel Alarcón is the author most recently of Lost City Radio, which was named a 2007 Best Book by the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

    826 National is a network of youth tutoring, writing, and publishing centers located in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Seattle, and Boston.

BACK