• Craft in the Real World

  • Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping
  • By: Matthew Salesses
  • Narrated by: Matthew Salesses
  • Length: 5 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Craft in the Real World  By  cover art

Craft in the Real World

By: Matthew Salesses
Narrated by: Matthew Salesses
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $21.00

Buy for $21.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

This national best seller is "a significant contribution to discussions of the art of fiction and a necessary challenge to received views about whose stories are told, how they are told and for whom they are intended" (Laila Lalami, The New York Times Book Review).

The traditional writing workshop was established with white male writers in mind; what we call craft is informed by their cultural values. In this bold and original examination of elements of writing - including plot, character, conflict, structure, and believability - and aspects of workshop - including the silenced writer and the imagined reader - Matthew Salesses asks questions to invigorate these familiar concepts. He upends Western notions of how a story must progress. How can we rethink craft, and the teaching of it, to better reach writers with diverse backgrounds? How can we invite diverse storytelling traditions into literary spaces?

Drawing from examples including One Thousand and One Nights, Curious George, Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, and the Asian-American classic No-No Boy, Salesses asks us to reimagine craft and the workshop. In the pages of exercises included here, teachers will find suggestions for building syllabi, grading, and introducing new methods to the classroom; students will find revision and editing guidance, as well as a new lens for reading their work. Salesses shows that we need to interrogate the lack of diversity at the core of published fiction: how we teach and write it. After all, as he reminds us, "When we write fiction, we write the world".

*This audiobook includes a downloadable PDF including the complete Appendix of Writing and Revision Exercises and a Bibliography from the book.  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 Matthew Salesses (P)2021 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Craft in the Real World

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 11-25-22

Very informative read for writers!

I enjoyed this book, as it helped me to think about things I did not know existed in the writing world.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must-read for writers!

A must-read for writers, especially participants of writing workshops.

Salesses brilliantly illuminates the link between culture and what is considered “good” writing craft; offers alternative, more inclusive and story-oriented methods of workshop critique; and rounds things out with a number of questions and exercises for writers to use when revising their work, to help make conscious the unconscious craft decisions writers make when drafting a story.

This book is organized into essays, and designed so that if a reader chooses not to read the chapters in order, they can jump around in the text and still understand the topic at hand even if they’ve not read the previous chapters. As such, some information is repeated, but I found it helpful for retaining what I was learning rather than off-putting.

I don’t usually write reviews, but this book is important for the writing community at large to read, as it questions the fundamentals of what we’re taught—and how we’re taught it—in western writing workshops and MFA programs. It also offered context for struggles I’ve had in workshops where I wasn’t a member of the workshop’s majority demographic, explained why such issues arise, and suggested methods to help mitigate them. I hope to someday try Salesses’s alternate workshop structure, which fosters critical thinking and making conscious story decisions, and centers the writer and their intention for the work, rather than the workshop reader’s opinions of what the work should be.

I found this book while looking into alternate story structures from the Hero’s Journey, and it delivered that and so much more. This is a book I intend to own in hard copy, ebook, and audiobook, and one I’ve already begun recommending to all my writer friends. (For the record, they’re enjoying it too.)

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Thoughts on Craft

Some great thoughts on rethinking workshop and the value of craft on our culture and world. There are some opinions presented as fact in this work, but the author does a good job backing up most of their points with facts and statistics. They make some assumptions and claims that some readers and writers will disagree with, but the wealth of information and activities in this book are worth its perusal alone. If you are teaching writing in the modern western world, you would do well to give this a listen.