National Book Award winner John Casey is a masterful novelist who is also an inspiring and beloved teacher. In Beyond the First Draft he offers essential and original insights into the art of writing-and rewriting-fiction. Through anecdotes about other writers' methods and habits (as well as his own) and close readings of literature from Aristotle to Zola, the essays in this collection offer "suggestions about things to do, things to think about when your writing has got you lost in the woods." In "Dogma and Anti-dogma" Casey sets out the tried-and-true advice and then comments on when to apply it and when to ignore it. In "What's Funny" he considers the range of comedy from pratfalls to elegant wit. In "In Other Words" he discusses translations and the surprising effects that translating can have on one's native language. In "Mentors" he pays tribute to those who have guided him and other writers. Throughout the fourteen essays there are notes on voice, point of view, structure, and other crucial elements. This book is an invaluable resource for aspiring writers and a revitalizing companion for seasoned ones.