I actually attended a couple of his Writers' Loft sessions and really enjoyed them. I think he has some valuable things to say and people can learn a lot from him. Overall, Immediate Fiction has some great, true things to say to give people a kick start and get them back on track, too. Sep 13, Jill rated it liked it Shelves: my-own-my-precious. For example, I will outline a few scenes, very loosely, just to give myself a trajectory. Some people never outline.
Some people have to outline the whole damn thing before they start writing. Whatever works. I can say I like some of his ideas and plan to try some of his methods to keep myself motivated to write every single day. Anyway, I found the book worth reading. Here are a few lines I liked: Never, never edit in your head; Go where your energy takes you, always; The less you care, the better you write; Get busy and write some shit.
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Jul 07, Diane Holcomb rated it it was amazing. I've always struggled with plot. No problem. Strong images? Got it. Active sentences?
Not bad. But what is this thing called Plot? I've read other books about how to plot and how to shape the story and how to blueprint the novel and how to master plot in x number of lessons and I just couldn't get it! I was writing by the seat of my pants and going by instinct. Then I picked up Immediate Fiction. Plot, says Cleaver, is simple: a character wants something; something or som I've always struggled with plot.
Plot, says Cleaver, is simple: a character wants something; something or someone is in the way of that want conflict ; the character takes action to overcome the obstacle, and comes to a resolution--win, lose or draw. Plot in a nutshell. In every scene. In every novel. He adds the importance of showing, not telling, and writing the character's inner thoughts--their worries, fears and hopes so the reader can identify. As long as those elements are in place, he doesn't see the need for outlines, or character bios, or knowing the ending before you sit down to write.
You can be a pantser and do just fine as long as you follow the elements of craft. I love this book. He clarifies the rewriting process, too. Always go back to craft, he says. Look for the want on the page. Is it soon enough? Strong enough? Could it be stronger? Look for the obstacle on the page. Mark it.
Look for the actions. Is the character trying hard enough?
Immediate Fiction : A Complete Writing Course
Could he try harder? And so on. Cleaver also has a plan to fit writing into a busy schedule on a consistent basis--through five minute increments a day. If you're like me, you'll show up for your five minutes and start writing, and get up an hour later, satisfied. He discusses what to do when you hit a wall, how to let your subconscious work for you I could go on, but I won't. Get the book. Enough said. Jan 01, Alia rated it really liked it. There's a part in this book that explains the importance of identification.
Identifying with characters, identifying with stories, identifying with ourselves in our environment. The author related to isolation experiments , where people were sealed in sensor-sterilized chambers, and they can't hear anything or feel the tips of their fingers or even feel the weight of their own bodies under the pressure of gravity. Even the strongest individuals cracked in such conditions. Schizophrenic hallucinat There's a part in this book that explains the importance of identification.
Schizophrenic hallucinations began. They no longer knew the lines between what was real and what wasn't, or where the world ended and they began. The isolation ate them up. I used to think that the tendency to write about my personal experiences in public as a failure to completely eradicate vanity.
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Isn't vanity a bad thing? Isn't talking about one's experiences borderlines the sin of pride? Then again, there seems to be a difference between bragging and telling stories. One of them might stem from the basic need of communicating, socializing and identification. Telling stories, self-expression, the ability to interact with the world, can be the very things that defines the lines between creative and crazy.
I picked up that book because I needed someone to talk to me in my head. I needed someone to tell me that writing - fiction or none - is okay, even if it seems like bragging. Even if it never turns into a book, or a shiny dime. I needed to have someone justify my awful writings for me. Oct 17, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: writing. As far as writing books go, this one isn't all that fun to read unlike Orson Scott Card's books on writing, which were entertaining as well as inspiring.
The method detailed in this book seems really solid. He lays out the basic tools of writing, offers many writing exercises, and has a good attitude about writing with your own inspiration and using the tools only as a way to get "unstuck" or a way to edit effectively. Unlike many other books on writing, though, this one seems more intimidating. I'm going to set it aside for a bit and pick it up after I have some more substantial work to edit. Feb 13, Cyne rated it it was amazing. Cleaver addresses the very basics: why scenes work and why they don't.
With his simple formula you now know where you're going wrong and how to fix it. If you're stuck with a writing puzzle, he offers the missing piece. I look forward to reading it again, because I'm pretty sure it's one of those books that you find something new in whenever you read it. Feb 01, Ken Lozito rated it it was amazing. I've taken creative writing courses both as workshops and in college, but none of them resonated with me as much as this book has.
This book proved to be an invaluable resource and improved my writing significantly. I do make it a point to go back and reread it every few years. If I ever meet Mr Cleaver I would shake his hand and say thank you for writing this book. Mar 26, Jen rated it it was ok Shelves: writing-books. The intro sparked my interest then I went straight to Chapter Hitting the Wall. Loved Chapter 15, it had some great insights but the book fell flat for me after that I found myself just skimming most of it. Jul 12, Jo rated it really liked it. The first part of this book lays out the basics of crafting a story - want, obstacle, action, emotion, showing not telling.
All those basic things I was missing when I wrote stories in school, all the things my teachers were looking for, but expected me to have picked up by osmosis. I never had someone sit down and say "look at the page -what does the character want? I know every book on writing has these basics, but Jerry writes very directly and gets right to the point. His concept of himself as a coach was spot on. What didn't happen at the beginning of the book was, I didn't feel compelled to get up and start writing.
I've been putting off reading this book for years maybe a decade?! I'm not a fiction writer that's what I tell myself but I thought this book might make me want to start right away. But it actually crept up on me. I read all the scenarios and prompts as I went along and found them kind of intriguing, but nothing made me want to start.
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But then I got to the 5 minutes a day part, chapter 12, The Ticking Clock - fitting it in. And that's when I started to see myself doing something. Jerry laid out a plan that I really could fit into my life, if I choose to. But the important part was the commitment to sitting down with your writing work every day though not forcing yourself to do anything more than nothing and then letting your mind stew over it the rest of the time.
His suggestion to carry a pocket tape recorder for ideas that come up was delightfully The way he described it was that we had to get practice in for when that mythical time when the stars align and we're "ready" and "have time" to write our novel. He said on more than one occasion that you work to get in the mood, not get in the mood to work.
And you have to practice. Quantity as a way of getting to quality. From there on the book picked up for me. It was nice to be reminded of all the terrible books that have been published. I work in a library. I know how much awful writing gets published.
I don't quite know how it gets published, but deciding you're not good enough before you've even gotten anything on the page makes absolutely no sense. Jerry is all about what's on the page and he has concrete suggestions on how to work through the writing once it's on the page and make sure the elements are there.
I feel like he's saying that we do already know how to tell stories - it's our human nature - but we just needed a coach to remind us of the fundamentals that lie underneath that process. And most of all we need to get out of our own way. There's a lot of advice on writer's block. It sounds like good stuff. So I'm glad I have this in paperback, which I mark up and return to over and over, and I'm going to see where it takes me.
An aside: the website for this book which I was hoping might have a printable list of the prompts or something is actually just an ad for private coaching, and although it claims to be copyright , it looks like the web design was done in ! Jerry does come across as an old guy, and I did get pretty annoyed at his sexism. Not that he implied women couldn't write or anything, but the book felt very much like it was an old guy talking to other guys. Using "your wife" instead of spouse or partner or just something more generically family rubbed me the wrong way. I might start by editing the sexism out of this book.
Aug 07, Danny Knestaut rated it it was ok. I found the advice in this book to tend towards the shallow side. If Cleaver taught at a medical school, I imagine his advice to students would be something akin to, "Forget all that stuff people told you about curing diseases and treating injuries. All you need to know to be a doctor is that you keep the heart beating, and the lungs breathing. In all seriousness, I suppose th I found the advice in this book to tend towards the shallow side. In all seriousness, I suppose this book would fit the bill for the hobbyist who wants to dip one's toes in the water and write the crime thrillers high on violence and low on character that Cleaver draws his examples from.
Writing such material is not a bad thing, if that's what one wants to do. If you want someone to tell you, "Look, don't worry about it. Just put the words on the page and everything will take care of itself," then this is the book for you. If you're the kind of person looking for for a craft book that offers some depth as well as a way to advance your skills and understanding, then I'd recommend looking elsewhere. Oct 24, Teri-K rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction-general , writing-creativity.
This may actually be a three star book, but I gave it four because it gets to the point well, is clearly laid out, and the author doesn't try to tell you that the only way to write is his way. Basically Cleaver cuts through the fog about "trusting your characters" and "letting your writing tell you what it wants" and sets out a few basic principles that make a good story. Will you be surprised to learn they're Conflict, Action and Resolution?
Hopefully not. However, this book does more than tell This may actually be a three star book, but I gave it four because it gets to the point well, is clearly laid out, and the author doesn't try to tell you that the only way to write is his way. However, this book does more than tell you that you need these elements, it shows you how to recognize if you don't have them and how to come up with them if you need more.
He also talks you through the process of taking a short story idea to a novel idea, how to deal with "writer's block" and how to write if you only have a few minutes a day to devote to writing. I may not agree with everything he says, but this book is a solid summary of a lot of useful information that may show or remind you of things that can help you write a solid story.
And it's remarkably free of the useless mumbo-jumbo some writing books love. View all 4 comments. Aug 11, Randall Dunn rated it it was amazing. Really enjoyed this book! Provided a lot of simple breakdowns for how to write, instead of focusing on things that have little to do with the actual craft of telling a story. Some of the same basics I use to help people in my beginners class to get started writing and keep at it. What I appreciated most were the bold phrases, which made it easy to skim through quickly and get the main points, for those of us who have been writing and reading writing books for a while.
Overall, I found Jerry Cle Really enjoyed this book! Overall, I found Jerry Cleaver's straightforward guide to be extremely helpful and I recommend its tips for both beginning and advanced writers. Aug 31, Suki Michelle rated it it was amazing. Simple concepts and exercises to create engagement and instill forward momentum in every scene. If you read just one book on improving your writing skills, this is it.
Jun 12, Adam AdamBoBattam rated it it was amazing. Beacon of light in a foggy topic. Mar 15, Harriet rated it it was ok Shelves: Some techniques I may use, but overall kind of boring. Choose your country's store to see books available for purchase. Covering the entire process from story building to manuscript preparation and marketing, Jerry Cleaver shows the novice and experienced writer how to start writing and how to get immediate results. Readers will find everything they need to know about managing time, finding an idea, getting the first word down on the page, staying unblocked, shaping ideas into compelling stories, and submitting their work to agents and publishers.
Immediate Fiction goes beyond the old "Write what you know" to "Write what you can imagine. Believing that all writing is rewriting, Cleaver says, "You can't control what you put on the page. You can only control what you leave on the page. The Daily Writer. Fred White. Nancy Lamb. The Fire in Fiction. Donald Maass. Les Edgerton. Writing 21st Century Fiction. Becca Puglisi. Fifteen Dogs. Robert McKee. James Scott Bell. Chuck Klosterman. Rock Your Plot. Cathy Yardley. Sarah Domet. Writing the Breakout Novel. Ron Rozelle. Ronald B. The Intent to Live.
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