The Art of Fiction Audiobook | Ayn Rand | Audible.com
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The Art of Fiction | [Ayn Rand]

The Art of Fiction

Ayn Rand discusses how a writer combines abstract ideas with concrete action and description to achieve a unity of theme, plot, characterization, and style, the four essential elements of fiction. Here, too, are Rand's illuminating analyses of passages from famous writers, rewrites of scenes from her own works, and fascinating rules for building dramatic plots and characters with depth.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1958, and again in 1969, Ayn Rand gathered a small group of her friends and acquaintances and gave an informal course on writing. At once a fascinating philosophical discourse on the art of creation and an invaluable guide for the aspiring writer, these edited transcripts are a treasure that will challenge, edify, and illuminate the way to more powerful writing.

Ayn Rand discusses how a writer combines abstract ideas with concrete action and description to achieve a unity of theme, plot, characterization, and style, the four essential elements of fiction. Here, too, are Rand's illuminating analyses of passages from famous writers, rewrites of scenes from her own works, and fascinating rules for building dramatic plots and characters with depth.

Also, listen to the companion text, Ayn Rand's The Art of Nonfiction.

©2000 Estate of Ayn Rand; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"Ayn Rand is a writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (130 )
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  •  
    Lois Huntington, WV, United States 12-04-09
    Lois Huntington, WV, United States 12-04-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Get Stein on Writing"

    First, let me say there are very good nuggets of information in this book. The problem is that the nuggets are hard to hear over her huge ego. 90% of this book is her tearing apart other people's work and never giving any examples of how it could have been done better. The book also gets political from out of nowhere. I'm sure there is good information here, but I struggled to finish listening to this book. If you want to listen to a book on techniques and strategies, I would suggest listening to Stein in Writing. Yes, Sol Stein has the huge ego too, but at least he gives examples to help the listener.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WriterGirl Washington, D.C. 11-25-08
    WriterGirl Washington, D.C. 11-25-08 Member Since 2003

    WriterGirl

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    "Arn Rand versus Sol Stein-Listen and Take Notes"

    I had to get past her ego as a great (if not the greatest) writer as she offered advice on how to write better by using examples of what she considered bad writing. They are really good examples of awful writing that somehow got published. I've already listened to Sol Stein on Writing and they do differ on opinions in certain areas, but they offer the same essential advice. I'm not a fan of either of her novels but she is knowledgeable about her field. I prefer Sol Stein as my writing instructor, but this is a decent and worthwhile listen. I listened a second time with pen and paper in hand to take notes.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-20-11
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-20-11 Member Since 2009

    My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.

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    "Talk about self-centered - MAN!!!"

    Gees, I guess according to A. Rand there's hardly anybody else out there that can write like she can. Yes she's good but she would be the type of teacher where every student would turn out a book strangely similar to hers. Sorry, but that's not releasing the imagination to run with good and individualized stories in my understanding of the process.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mica New York, NY, United States 04-27-08
    Mica New York, NY, United States 04-27-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Chock Loaded"

    Another must for anyone with an interest in writing and Rand, truly one of the densest and most stimulating writers to this day. Just glance at the love and hate she inspires. While you will not be made into a little Ayn, you will gain insights into how she structures approaching writing fiction. Some of the text even delves into the motivations for writing. Her advice is poignant and delivered in her standard direct style. I highly recommend.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Txjack Central Texas 07-28-11
    Txjack Central Texas 07-28-11 Member Since 2005

    txjack

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    "Didn't like it"

    I enjoy Ayn Rand's work, especially on audio. I have listened to Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead many times. Each of these are epic in scope (and volume, A. S. is over 50 hours!) I couldn't even finish this. I don't know if it was the narrator or the the style of the writing, which isn't strictly written as if she spoke it in a series, but from what I understood much was culled from other sources beside study groups. I waited a long time for this as it dropped from Audible for a while. It came back, I got it, and boy, do I ever regret it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barker Bulls, New Zealand 11-24-10
    Barker Bulls, New Zealand 11-24-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Not worth your money or time!!!!!!"

    I really feel this statement ("Not worth you money or time") may be the biggest understatement of all time - I found this lady very hard to follow. I had one very small aha moment amongst an AVALANCHE OF MIND NUMBINGLY BORING LISTENING. (AND I MUST STRESS IT WAS A VERY SMALL MOMENT) This lady has a very high opinion of her own writing but if any of her long excerts that she reads out as examples are anything to go on then she's really not all that. Its up to you but I would really reccommend saving your money on this one and highly reccomment that you buy and listen to Stein on writing. A FAR SUPERIOR BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough - FAR SUPERIOR!!!!!!!! (With Stein you will get the one small aha moment I got from Rand and many more to boot) PLUS HE WONT BORE THE PANTS OFF YOU!!!!!!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith F. Bullock ROCK POINT, AZ, US 08-08-10
    Judith F. Bullock ROCK POINT, AZ, US 08-08-10 Listener Since 2010

    wollachee

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    "Ayn Rand on plot structure"

    If you've ever struggled with writing plot structure in a novel, you will find Ayn Rand's discussion of plot structure most valuable. In this classic "period" piece, her comments on story structure still hold true. AR's discussion of selfishness-as-virtue is a little hard to take, but whether or not you agree with the philosophy of selfishness, the woman knows her craft as a writer. This is a discussion you'll want to hear over and over, as it is fascinating for writers and readers alike.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Twila Durango, CO, United States 09-11-12
    Twila Durango, CO, United States 09-11-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Nonwriters: The book will make you a better reader"

    The Art of Fiction gives writers (and readers) tools for thinking about how writing is done, and specially how Ms. Rand wrote. If you read her books, you will particularly find her insights to her own works very helpful. She is speaking of "romantic" literature as opposed to "naturalistic" literature, and shows the differences in the purposes of these types of literature. Much of the criticisms leveled at a book such as "Atlas Shrugged" can be understood in light of the specific type of literature that Ms. Rand wrote, and the purposes of such a type.

    I read the reviews before I purchased the book, and find the criticism to be a bit strange. Yes, Arn Rand thinks she is a good writer, and shows examples of other writings that she deemed require improvement - one would expect as much given the purpose of the personal talks that she gave to a group of friends and interested acquaintances that were later edited into this book. The book is short and rather episodic, rather than flowing - again a product of the converting informal lectures into a book.

    In any case, as someone who wanted to use the book to become a better reader, I found it very insightful as a reader in general, and specifically as a reader of Ms. Rand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ocean Portsmouth, NH, United States 08-10-12
    Ocean Portsmouth, NH, United States 08-10-12 Member Since 2011

    Love to read. Love to write.

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    "Pure Joy"

    I was thrilled to have stumbled upon this. To actually hear Ayn Rand's words as she expresses her thoughts about the art of writing. I'm not saying that I agree completely with everything that she says or that what used to work for a writer decades ago still applies today but definitely still amazingly powerful and valuable to be able to hear her thoughts and opinions. Loved every minute of it and will undoubtedly listen to it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MaryAnn Idaho Falls, ID, United States 07-16-12
    MaryAnn Idaho Falls, ID, United States 07-16-12 Member Since 2010
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    "overblown style, know-it-all and pompous writing"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Not much could help this book. It is read by a reader in a style that matches the book - a prissy accent and so many "i.e.s" instead of using "for example", that is nearly ridiculous. Ayn Rand compares herself to famous master writers, classics, cutting them down in a derogatory "holier than thou" way I find unbelievable. She also manages to get her own political views ingrained by using those particular excerpts form her writing as "good" examples.Just a terrible read (listen) that I couldn't finish. A waste of my audible credit.


    Has The Art of Fiction turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no, but it has certainly turned me off anything by Ayn Rand, no matter how well-known.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Marguerite Gavin?

    Just about anybody not so irritating to listen to.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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