May 17, 2017 at 10:47 am

Moore Publishes Creative Writing Handbook, ‘The Story Cure’

b/w Headshot of Dinty Moore

Dinty Moore

by Kristin M. Distel

Dinty Moore, Professor and Director of Creative Writing, has recently published a new book, The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir.

“This book is designed for writers at the beginning of their novel or memoir, those somewhere in the middle, as well as those who have completed multiple drafts,” Moore writes. “The goal is to get you to the finish line, to make sure you complete your book and have something in your hands that you can feel proud of.”

The book features Moore’s own advice and “cures,” drawn from his experience as a distinguished and prolific writer and editor, as well as from many years of teaching undergraduate and graduate students.

cover of book

Moore’s latest book is an innovative combination of “diagnoses” and “cures”

Book Doctor to the Rescue

“A common enough term in the writing world,” Moore writes in his introduction, “Book Doctor is used to describe a person who will take a book manuscript—perhaps an early draft of a novel or memoir, perhaps draft sixteen—and diagnose why it is not yet working.”

Moore has divided the book into two sections: Part 1: Cures, and Part 2: Checkups. Each section features various “diagnoses,” such as “Forgetting the Reader,” “All the Good Stuff Comes Later,” and “When You’re Writing, It All Comes Out as Summary.” Moore follows these diagnoses with “cures”—various exercises to try and revision strategies to consider.

What makes The Story Cure especially original and useful is that it doubles as a workbook for writers who feel “stuck” with their novel or memoir. Moore has included writing prompts and exercises throughout the book, including fill-in-the-blank style activities that ask the writer to consider various aspects of their characters, plot, setting, and dialogue.

“The task at hand is not to clean up sentences, adjust punctuation, or fix typographical errors,” Moore writes. “A Book Doctor looks at the patient as a whole—the plot, the main characters, the voice, the structure—or, to continue the physician metaphor, the arms, the legs, the belly, and the heart. The Doctor’s job is to diagnose exactly why the patient isn’t thriving.”

Moore’s book also features proverbial advice from other well-known writers, including Joan Didion, Barbara Hamby, Anne Lamott, Stephen King, and others.

“This Strong, Lean Title Stands Out”

The book has received a great deal of advanced praise, notably from Poets and Writers, Booklist, and other venues.

“Moore delivers a clear, compact writing guide. . . . Few guides are as tight, thorough, and engaging as this one. . . . In a field littered with gimmicky advice, this strong, lean title stands out,” Booklist’s reviewers note.

The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir is now available from Penguin Random House, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

Dinty Moore has been published in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, Crazyhorse, and Okey-Panky, among numerous other venues. He is also the founder and editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction at OHIO.


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