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The definitive handbook for the novelist who is ready to revise
This wise and friendly guide shows writers how to turn first-draft manuscripts into the novels of their dreams. A critic, longtime teacher, and award-winning novelist, Sandra Scofield illustrates how to reread a work of fiction with a view of its subject and vision, and how to take it apart and put it back together again, stronger and deeper. Scofield builds her explanations around helpful concepts like narrative structure, character agency, and core scenes, using models from classic and contemporary writers. The detailed, step-by-step plan laid out in The Last Draft offers invaluable advice to both novice and experienced writers alike. In Scofield, they will find a seasoned, encouraging mentor to steer them through this emotional and intellectual journey.
About the Author
Sandra Scofield is the author of seven novels, including Beyond Deserving, a finalist for the National Book Award, and A Chance to See Egypt, winner of a Best Fiction Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters. She has written a memoir, Occasions of Sin, and a book of essays about her family, Mysteries of Love and Grief: Reflections on a Plainswoman’s Life. She is also the author of a previous book on the craft of writing, The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer. Scofield is on the faculty of the Solstice MFA Program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College and has for many years taught in the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival.
“Drawing deeply on her own teaching and writing and using a multitude of examples from classic and contemporary fiction, [Scofield] offers a meticulous guide to revising a novel... The lasting messages of this inspiring book are 'read, read, read,' 'write the best prose you can,' and 'love the process and what you learn.'"
-- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This title stands out from the crowd of others on the subject. For readers who are thinking about publishing their writing."
-- Library Journal, starred review
“An award-winning fiction writer and teacher shares hard-won advice. Novelist and memoirist Scofield…brings her experience as a writer and teacher to a practical, encouraging manual focused on revision. … Patience and commitment, this useful guide reveals, are a writer's strongest assets.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
“Sandra Scofield has written a needed book: not how to begin a novel, but how to get one into shape and on point. She is insightful on the importance of scene and ingenious on the value of summary and the role of interiority. She offers exercises for describing, evaluating, energizing, and enriching a draft in ways both minute and structural. For a novelist in that perplexing stage between a messy version and a viable manuscript, The Last Draft may be a godsend.”
—Janet Burroway, author of Writing Fiction