Marge Piercy's Website

Check out Marge Piercy's critically praised memoir:
Sleeping with Cats

Table of Contents

Brief Excerpts

So You Want To Write
How To Master the Craft of Writing
Fiction and the Personal Narrative
Marge Piercy & Ira Wood


A Featured Selection of the Writers Digest Book Club

"Best Book of the Year for Writers"—The Writer Magazine

Short-listed for Best Book of the Year—ForeWord Magazine


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For over ten years, Marge Piercy and Ira Wood have been teaching two popular master classes in the crafting of fiction and memoirs. They attract students nationwide who have failed to improve their work in courses concentrating on the ‘process’ of writing, encouraging their potential but failing to supply them with the tools. Encompassing two complete writers' workshops, and never before available in book form, So You Want To Write:

Uses talks, exercises, anecdotes and examples proven in the classroom, to address:
• How to begin a piece by seducing your reader,
• How to create characters that embody the infinite contradictions of human behavior,
• How to master the elements of plotting fiction,
• How to create a strategy for telling the story of your life,
• How to learn to read critically, like a professional writer,
• How to write about painful personal material without coming off as a victim,
• How to proceed if your work is continually rejected by publishers.

Drawing on over seventy years of combined writing experience, other chapters include:
• The overlooked powers of dialogue,
• Creating descriptions that move readers emotionally,
• FAQ’s about agents, rejections, submitting work effectively, how much writers really earn,
• Overcoming shame and the difficulties of writing about loved ones.

"Here is a must-have for would-be writers: a how-to book written by a popular novelist and a successful publisher . . . This fine book is a distillation of the wisdom they have accumulated and dispensed over the years. They start at the beginning with beginnings (story openings) and move smoothly through character building, the importance of dialogue and plot, and how to craft compelling narrative passages . . . Piercy and Wood have a fundamental audience in mind: anyone who has a good story to tell but isn't quite sure how to tell it. Put this on the shelf right beside Strunk and White."

"This book is a product of the workshops [they] have given for many years and those not lucky enough to have participated in the workshops can now benefit from their no-nonsense wisdom. Readers will appreciate the hardcore approach of these two dedicated writers."
Publishers Weekly

"Seamless and exceptionally engaging … the book is a valuable tool for the apprentice in search of practical advice on the craft of fiction and memoir writing from accomplished novelists."

"The authors conduct well-known writing seminars, and they have put much of this information into book form. They address plot, character development, dialogue and all the other elements of successful writing. They also go into work habits, overcoming the "inner censor" and dealing with publishers. A good primer for new writers; a fine reference book for any writer."
The Tampa Tribune

"Best-selling writer Piercy and her husband, novelist-publisher Wood, have been co-teaching writers’ workshops for about ten years [and] . . . they have reproduced their master course in this useful manual. Advising against how-to books—even their own—the two authors encourage would-be writers to read as much as possible (included is a list of recommended books), as reading plays the key role in the process of learning how to write. The authors go on to discuss character, plot, dialog, and some of the nuts and bolts of the publishing industry. They also discuss how much writers can expect to earn, what those rejection letters from publishers really mean . . . The exercises at chapter ends are short and to the point, just enough to get the juices flowing. Because of the clear writing style and the authors’ reputations, this book, although joining an already saturated market, is worth the shelf space." —Library Journal

"This is a great book, no matter what stage of writing you're at—whether you're just dabbling with ideas thatv have been rolling around your head for years, between doing the dinner dishes and bedtime, or whether you are sending out 20 query letters a day and have three completed manuscripts in your bottom desk drawer."
The Writer

"This new column, The Writing Life, helps to choose the best [of the how-to-write books]... Writers seriously looking to have their work published should pick up SO YOU WANT TO WRITE. The combined experience of Marge Piercy and Ira Wood make a good combination for a how-to-write-and-get-it-into-print book. Wood's advice on getting your work published is extremely heplful worth the cost of the book alone."
The St. Petersburg Times

"SO YOU WANT TO WRITE is a lively, informative, and down-to-earth guide for anyone who's ever thought of writing and publishing a novel, story, or personal memoir.It answers all the questions you may have—as well as some you didn't think of."
—Alison Lurie, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Professor of English, Cornell University

Table of Contents

Brief Excerpts

Marge Piercy is the author of 35 books of poetry and fiction, including the bestsellers Gone To Soldiers, The Longings of Women and the now-classic Woman on the Edge of Time. She has given readings, lectures, and/or taught at over 300 universities nationwide. The Washington Post calls her memoir, Sleeping with Cats: "An enriching pleasure. A  lovingly written memoir by a woman in touch with what matters." Ira Wood is the author of three novels, a publisher, and a writing teacher whose classes address writers’ feelings of hopelessness and overcoming the inner censor. Together, they co-wrote the critically acclaimed novel Storm Tide (Ballantine).
More about the Authors

Upcoming Workshops with Piercy and/or Wood

CATEGORY: Writing / Self Actualization & Self Help / Reference
PAGES: 224
TRIM: 6 x 9
ISBN: 0-9679520-2-6
PRICE: $14.95 / Paperback Original


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