The Secret Miracle

The Novelist's Handbook

Daniel Alarcon, Ed.

St. Martin's Griffin

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The world’s best contemporary writers—from Michael Chabon and Claire Messud to Jonathan Lethem and Amy Tan—engage in a wide-ranging, insightful, and oft- surprising roundtable discussion on the art of writing fiction

Drawing back the curtain on the mysterious process of writing novels, The Secret Miracle brings together the foremost practitioners of the craft to discuss how they write. Paul Auster, Roddy Doyle, Allegra Goodman, Aleksandar Hemon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Haruki Murakami, George Pelecanos, Gary Shteyngart, and others take us 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”), every page contains insights found nowhere else.

With honesty, humor, and elegance, The Secret Miracle gives both aspiring writers and lovers of literature a master class in the art of writing.

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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

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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.

Daniel Alarcon

Daniel Alarcon

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Secret Miracle
The Novelist's Handbook
Daniel Alarcon, Ed.

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
April 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429935838
ISBN10: 1429935839
368 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
April 2010
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780805087147
ISBN10: 0805087141
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 368 pages
$19.99
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St. Martin's Griffin

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