NC Literary Hall of Fame



A Self-Guided Workbook and Gentle Tour on Learning How to Write Stories from Start-to-Finish by Carrie Jane Knowles

Owl Canyon Press
$18.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1952085000
April, 2020
Nonfiction: Self-Help / Writing
Available from your local bookstore or

"There is no shortage of books about the craft of writing, but Carrie Knowles is that rare artist who can create successful poetry, fiction, non-fiction, advice, reviews, journalism, and even advertising copy. Carrie knows what she's talking about, and the writing prompts alone—at the end of each chapter—are worth the price of admission. No matter how many other writing guides you own, this one will drive you toward improving your craft without getting twisted up in knots. Carrie is a very generous and down-to-earth guide. No pretense, no arrogance."
—Georgann Eubanks, director of the Table Rock Writers’ Workshop and author of four nonfiction books from the University of North Carolina Press

"The self-guided workbook has a conversational tone and energy that made me feel as if I was in a buzzing coffee shop discussing the writing process with an old friend—a very knowledgeable old friend. The short chapters and writing prompts gave me ample opportunity to absorb the lessons; and before I knew it, I conquered many of my own writing demons."
—Tammy Bird, author of The Book of Promises

"Great for writers at all levels, for individuals or for course adoption, Carrie Jane Knowles’ A Self-Guided Workbook is illuminating and a joy to read. This book enjoys a couple of advantages over the myriad of writing manuals out there, including twenty short lessons rather than the usual ten longer chapters. This allows for a truly 'self-guided' tour, in which readers or instructors can pick and choose areas of focus or simply go from cover to cover. The chapters range from the transcendent—'Getting Down to the Emotional Truth of the Story'—to the mechanical—'Quotation Marks: Getting it Right.' Each chapter ends with two sets of writing exercises: 'Work it Out,' meant to practice that chapter’s lesson, followed by a series of generative 'Prompts.' A Self-Guided Workbook is just that, a work book, focused on action, on actual practice writing, bolstered by straightforward, on-the-money advice. I started this book to consider adopting it for my college-level fiction writing class, and I will indeed assign it to my students next semester, but what I hadn’t expected was how much it has helped me see my own writing from new angles. I can’t wait to share it with my students."
—Kelly Daniels, associate professor of creative writing at Augustana College and author of Cloudbreak, California: a Memoir

A writing workbook designed to help beginning writers from 14-80 learn the basics and start writing with direction and confidence.

Carrie Jane Knowles was the North Carolina Piedmont Laureate for Short Fiction in 2014. Her short stories have won numerous awards, including the Village Advocate Fiction Contest, the Blumenthal Writers and Readers Series, the North Carolina Writers' Network Fiction Syndication, and Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Competition. She has been a finalist in Glimmer Train competitions six times.

Carrie has published four novels: The Inevitable Past, Lillian's Garden, Ashoan's Rug, and A Garden Wall in Provence, a collection of short stories, Black Tie Optional, and a memoir, The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s.

She has recently published a writing workbook: A Self-Guided Workbook and Gentle Tour on Learning How to Write Stories from Start-to-Finish.

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