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I usually write explanatory nonfiction, but now I am interested in something more narrative--think Erik Larson or Rebecca Skloot, for example. I write clearly, and understand basic ideas about narrative elements like story arcs, scene setting, dialogue, etc. but there's a difference between understanding a concept and being able to apply it effectively to my writing. Where do you suggest I look to find the kinds of exercises or suggestions that help me move from conceptual understanding to skillful writing?

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Please tell us if one of these Qs answer your quesiton: writers.stackexchange.com/questions/148/… - writers.stackexchange.com/questions/2794/… - writers.stackexchange.com/questions/345/… - writers.stackexchange.com/questions/1176/… - If they do not: what is missing for you? – John Smithers Nov 30 '11 at 20:39
Thanks so much for responding. #148 is about books (some of which I'm very familiar with); I need exercises to help me learn to apply the ideas. #2794 is about basic writing; I'm interested more specifically in narrative/creative writing here. Mr. Zinsser has already changed my writing :-) #345 and #1176 might have some good ideas, though. Thanks again! – Al C Dec 1 '11 at 0:16
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I read a great book, Between the Lines: Master the subtle elements of fiction writing by Jessica Page Morrell. I wrote to her and we have corresponded. She also wrote Thanks, But This Isn't For Us: A (Sort Of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing Is Being Rejected. Both books are a good fit for the writing transition you describe. The second has more exercises, both offer great information on the specifics you're looking for.

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