Michael Noll

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We’re sitting down with Michael Noll this week about his new book, THE WRITER’S FIELD GUIDE TO THE CRAFT OF FICTION (A Strange Object, February 27, 2018). Michael is a writer, teacher, and Program Director at the Writers’ League of Texas.

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Michael Noll is a writer, teacher, and Program Director at the Writers’ League of Texas. His book, THE WRITER’S FIELD GUIDE TO THE CRAFT OF FICTION was released February 27, 2018 by A Strange Object.  

Before joining the Writers’ League as Program Director, Michael taught writing at Texas State University, where he also earned his MFA. He has taught for more than a decade at the university level and in independent classes in Austin, New Mexico, and online.

At his blog, Read to Write Stories, Michael has interviewed more than 150 authors about the craft behind the work, a wealth of experience that informs The Writer’s Field Guide. His short stories have been published widely, including in The Best American Mystery Stories anthology.

Michael has also interviewed the actor Chris Cooper and Philadelphia screenwriter Ron Nyswaner for the PBS program OnStory. Every month he moderates a series of panel conversations on writing and publishing for the Writers’ League of Texas Podcast.

Michael lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.

Praise for The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction (A Strange Object, February 27, 2018)

“10 Great Reads by Austin Authors for 2018”–Austin Monthly

“Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2018”–Big Other

“These exercises are a true inspiration for both novice and experienced writers. The Writer’s Field Guide for the Craft of Fiction is an invaluable book that will energize any writer’s imagination and help overcome any writer’s block.”Heidi W. Durrow, author of the NYT bestseller The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

“…Noll shines some new light on how fiction writers might reexamine story form, character, and language through an old but nearly forgotten method—close reading and imitation—and build their own entirely original works. Because there’s less theory and more practice, we all benefit. “Tell me a story,” he quotes one of his former instructors urging, which seems simplistic until you look at how often we avoid doing just that. A terrific, truly curious book about the humbling practice of writing fiction.”Scott Blackwood, author of Pen USA Award for Fiction winner See How Small

“There comes a time in every writer’s education when they realize they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. At this point, a writer can throw in the towel, take out student loans for another round of schooling, or discover a brilliant book like Michael Noll’s The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction. With patience, good humor, and fortitude, Noll provides a field manual for taking fiction apart and putting it back together again, gaining technical know-how and inspiration along the way. An indispensible book that belongs on every serious writer’s desk.”Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Elle Magazine Fiction Book of the Year Close Your Eyes

Now, at last, along comes [Noll’s] The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction, in which reading and writing are rightly treated as inextricable, such that every sharp insight and lively provocation is rooted in the terra firma of great writing. Indeed, its primary text excerpts are impeccable, but it is also Noll’s own intuition, reading acumen, and willingness to push beyond the obvious that ultimately make these exercises so worthwhile, and the book a gem.”Tim Horvath, author of Understories and winner of the Raymond Carver Short Story Award

About The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction 

The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction offers one-page excerpts from contemporary novels and stories, with short essays revealing the techniques used by the authors and exercises that allow anyone to use them in their own writing.

Excerpts are drawn from bestselling, award-winning literary authors such as T.C. Boyle, Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, Marlon James, Karen Russell, George Saunders, Zadie Smith, and Jesmyn Ward and genre writers such as Gillian Flynn, William Gibson, Daniel José Older, and Jennifer Weiner.

Written in a personal, conversational style by Michael Noll, the teacher and writer behind the craft-of-writing blog Read to Write Stories, The Writer’s Field Guide brings to the page an approach that has been named a “Favorite Blog” by a literary agent in Publisher’s Weekly and is used as a resource in two dozen colleges, universities, and high schools around the country. –A Strange Object

You can keep up with Michael Noll on his blog, Read to Write Stories. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.