Creative Writing Guide Coming: MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT

One of my big nonfiction projects this past year was co-editing a huge, 130,000 word collection of instructional articles for writers, called MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, along with a former student, author Heidi Ruby Miller. It’s early, but the website for the book has launched, and many insightful features are planned for it in the months leading up to the book’s release this coming Spring:
I am very pleased with this book, which should be released by Headline Books this Spring. It would be useful for any teacher interested in working with students who want to write genre fiction and novel-length prose for publication. The unique focus of this book on writing for multiple popular genres is something you won’t find in most instructional guides for creative writers, …but what makes it really unique is that every single contributor is a faculty member, visiting guest writer, or published graduate from the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, where I work.

In other words, it’s the product of a learning community. I’m very proud of my colleagues and the students who put a lot of passion into sharing their wisdom. This gives the book a “writer’s workshop in a bottle” spirit.

But it also reflects a pragmatism and focus on genre theory not often found in creative writing textbooks. Look at the sneak preview of the Table of Contents. You’ll see it is a hefty tome (130,000 words with 60 contributors!). It includes sections on not only the “craft” but the whole spectrum of popular genres in which writers of fiction ply their skills… and a third section on the writer’s life (and even features a chapter by Lawrence C. Connolly on “The Teaching Writer” that would be useful for teachers reading this who also write fiction).

I’ll likely post more reflections or news about this book in the year ahead, especially when it’s available for ordering come Spring 2011. But for now, there’s the weblog, which will include news and features leading up to the book launch. Check it out, and if you have questions about the title, let me know.

Published by

Michael Arnzen

Professor of English, Seton Hill University.