top of page

A Self-guided Workbook and Gentle Tour on How to Write Stories From Start to Finish


ISBN: 978-1-952085-00-0

Page count: 214

Price: $18.95

Release Date: April 1, 2020




 My job as the 2014 NC Piedmont Laureate was to help people, no matter age or education level, to gain the skills, as well as the confidence, to tell their stories.

Because, everyone should have a voice.

Self-guided Workbook & Gentle Tour on How to Write Stories From Start to Finish

  • 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 Cloubreak, California: a Memoir

    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 non-fiction books from the University of North Carolina Press

    Carrie Knowles possesses that rare gift for breaking down the essentials of self-editing for fiction writers in easy-to-digest chunks that will stay with you for years. In my years of writing and editing fiction, I haven’t yet seen a writing teacher so adept at showing students where to place punctuation in dialogue or express why internal and external conflict is vital for any successful novel or short story.

    With Carrie, writers can both understand the trees and the forest! The fiction world is blessed to have Carrie Knowles in our midst.

    ─Alice Osborn, author of After the Steaming Stops and editor, book coach and writing workshop facilitator

    I have always enjoyed the weave and weft of a good story, but lacked the knowledge of the structure of the Why and How. Carrie’s advice took me on a learning journey I could both work with and comprehend.

    ─Sharon Lee,

    Brisbane, Australia

    Carrie’s no-nonsense, common sense approach to coaching writers is easy to understand and implement.

    She's a writer's best friend - no dreaded writers circle needed!

    ─Linda Frenette, LML Consultants

    For ten years, I had the wonderful fortune to attend a writing group facilitated by Carrie Knowles. She took each participant’s raw energy and often flagging enthusiasm, rejection is the norm for a writer, and facilitated our love of reading, writing, and creating. As 2014 Piedmont Laureate, she turned some of her wise and generous lessons into blog entries, and now has turned those blog entries into a book and added other lessons. I cannot urge you enough to buy her book - she’ll help you hone your craft while developing a unique voice. Save me a place in line!
    Trudi Taylor, author

    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. Carrie is right: “We all have stories to tell,” and she can definitely help you tell them!
    Tammy Bird, Author and Educator