Auslander, Phillip. Performance: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2003.
This is one of the most complete thematic and textual compendiums on theatre and includes historical and contemporary theories about performance and dramatic writing. While this is not necessarily the most effective source when looking for inspiration for one’s own work of drama, it provides a firm framework for understanding the meaning of theatrical performances in societies ancient and modern. Like a Norton Anthology might be used for gathering a survey on past fiction or poetry, in its nearly 2000 pages, this work references all important movements in theatre and provides a perceptive on where it’s been and where drama will go in coming centuries. More of a reference book to themes or theories than a sit-down book one would read over several days but nonetheless essential.
Caulley, Darrel N. “Making Qualitative Research Reports Less Boring: The Techniques of Writing Creative Nonfiction.” Qualitative Inquiry 14.3 (2008), 424-449.
There was simply something so honest and forthcoming about the title of this article and its direct nature in addressing the fact that yes, writing about basic numbers and facts can be boring for the reader and writer and reader alike, that I had to read it. I found that in addition to providing numerous tactics at using the art of creative non-fiction writing in academic reports or strict reporting-based writing can make an otherwise dull subject exciting and engaging. Even more interestingly, the tips discussed in this article can be applied to writing about anything at all that is based in truth as there is a balance between fact and fancy that is established that turns ordinary subjects into exciting topics.
Friedman, Norman. “Point of View in Fiction: The Development of a Critical Concept.” PMLA: The Modern Language Association 70(1955): 1160-1184.
This article explores the tenuous relationship the reader has with the narrator in fiction and seeks to understand how the point of view of a novel, particularly as it relates to the narrator, serves to make points to the reader without being too omnipresent and not corrupting the reader’s experience. Instead of evaluating what method of point of view is best, Friedman uses several examples from different periods to highlight his points, including the Victorian novel. The work is somewhat dated but serves as a rather conversational and easy to read piece about some issues to consider before choosing a point of view and constructing a narrative sense in a work of fiction.
Gutkind, L. ed. In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2005
This book is actually a collection of essays that were published in the peer-reviewed journal, “Creative Non-Fiction" and were selected by the founder, who is the editor of the book. Topics range on the selection of the subject to the ethics of adding flair to fact. Most topics covered are not of a basic or instructional nature but discuss some of the finer points of writing about facts in an interesting and entertaining way.
Kupfer, Fern. “The Dream, and the Reality, of Writing Fiction.” Chronicle of Higher Education 49.20 (2003): B5.
This article looks at one of the issues of writing fiction that is overlooked in the guides about how to write it and instead examines what it means to be a fiction writer—especially if one has a “real" job. Everyone often idealizes the life of a fiction writer, imagining Hemingway in some Cuban paradise penning, smoking, drinking—living it up. They imagine well, fictional lives for their fiction writers—something that is not always the case. This article serves as a valuable “reality check" for writing fiction. It seems easy to get lost in the romanticized notion of sitting around, lost in creative bliss all day, writing here and there, but the fact is—it is work. There is a lot about writing that is unglamorous. The author of this article teaches college and is an academic who is used to writing scholarly articles. She is in a new and often uncomfortable world now as she makes the shift from academic to the creative and finds that the romance of writing fiction is, in itself, complete fiction.
LaPlante, Alice. The Making of a Story: The Norton Guide to Writing Fiction and Non-Fiction. 2nd. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2007.
This is one of the most straightforward and non-complicated guides to writing I have encountered and is the solution to many questions I have about mechanics and general style issues as I write fiction. While I think that there are many other sources that address writing non-fiction in a much clear and organized way, the fiction section of this book is easy to navigate and I found direct answers to many of my questions within moments. It is not written in an entertaining manner and is rather droll in tone, style, and general content but for finding quick answers to complicated problems in fiction, this is a solid and reliable source.
This article puts fiction writing in perspective, especially when it seems that one is getting bogged down in the elements that make writing torture rather than the free-flowing of ideas. Writers block, crippling worry over the eventual fate of the work and what someone might think of it, self-consciousness and the inability to just let go and let the process happen—these are all woes that keep people from enjoying writing fiction, even if writing is the only thing they want to do. This is a wonderful companion to the strict style, use, and other guides that discuss the mechanics and rules for writing fiction as it keeps the process in perspective. This is one of the few articles, actually, that makes writing seem like something anyone can do and enjoy and does not make good writing seem like something that only a select few can do and enjoy at the same time.