cover image Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction

Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction

Benjamin Percy. Graywolf, $16 (160p) ISBN 978-1-55597-759-7

Percy (The Dead Lands) assembles 15 short essays on various topics related to the art and craft of fiction writing. Many of the selections began as lectures for writing workshops, and aspiring and established authors will get the most out of Percy’s advice. Percy inevitably talks a lot about his own work, but he offers plenty of examples from other writers. Pushing back against the prejudice in literary circles against genre writing, he encourages writers to lean into something more thrilling than simple realism. The book covers topics such as creating urgency, avoiding backstory, and writing violence. On the basis that “work defines us,” Percy advises that a character’s job should shape how that person sees the world. He also frequently draws on filmmaking conventions, explaining how novelists and short story writers can learn lessons about structure and modulation from screenwriters. Percy’s essays skillfully dissect the structure, mechanics, and concrete details of what makes good writing sparkle. [em]Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown. (Oct.) [/em]