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Works of art cause us to contemplate our human condition with unending fascination. They take us into another dimension, a dimension in which our understanding of the world we live in becomes richer, and our appreciation, even awe, of the power of a human hand to craft such a work, grows. In this way, the works of Leonardo, Ibsen, and Mozart enrich our understanding of the world in which we function.

The techniques required to create works of art are neither difficult to grasp, nor difficult to use. They simply take time, thoughtfulness and a willingness to experiment (rewrite) to see which are most useful. Bernard Selling guides people through the writing process, explaining what makes writing great one step at a time.

Selling has taught writing courses for over thirty years, and the 25th Anniversary Edition of his seminal guide to life story writing, Writing from Within, will be published by Hunter House in April, 2012. Writing from Deeper Within, a special eBook-only sequel, contains Selling’s refined and expanded curriculum. The sequel includes a summary of Selling’s Writing from Within method, which teaches people to learn how to write by using the subject they know best-themselves. Then, with techniques that will help people create more complete, powerful and universal stories, Selling shows how people can expand their work into full-length plays, memoirs, screenplays, or novels.

Essentially, Selling teaches that all great stories-no matter the genre or form-have well-developed, fascinating main characters and intriguing plots. All characters need goals that they pursue--the greater the obstacles in the way of that goal, the more interesting the stories become. The difference between shorter works and longer works is that shorter works usually only have one obstacle for each goal, and longer works have smaller goals and obstacles within the main plot. The goals and obstacles push the story forward, while minor characters and well-crafted backstories contribute to the audience’s understanding of what has happened before the curtain comes up and is essential to most narratives.

To help writers, Selling provides draft samples each step of the way to show how his advice improves every piece of writing. He describes:
Story pacing techniques
Strategies for subtly adding exposition and denouement
Revealing and unraveling character
Writing stories within stories
Developing unique voices within the same story
Researching and writing family histories
Advanced steps like creating visual motifs, employing sub-text, and separating the writer from the central character
He also includes a full chapter of his students’ finished work to show the potential of his method.

All of the techniques that Selling presents are just as relevant to the non-fiction writer as to the fiction writer, and all writers, new and old, will write with more skill, understand themselves and their characters better, and be able to turn their writing into art.

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