Well, it all starts with reading better. And Why? Reading Like a Writer is yet another manual for reading, not unlike Mortimer J. The simplest answer: they spent years studying and imitating the works of their predecessors. So why should literature be any different? Instinctively, it may be not.
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Fair warning, your to-read list and Amazon cart will overflow after only a few chapters. With that being said, there are plenty of dull moments. One particular failure occurred in the "Gestures" chapter where she tsk-tsked unnecessary actions in dialogue but provided only one weak example of how this can be done effectively. This was one of the tedious ones. Meaning, books should be Important and Literary This was another one of my forays into "Books about writing written by writers," some of which have been quite interesting, a few of which have been useful, but often they turn out to be tedious.
In this book full of sometimes multiple-page excerpts from books that highlight her points, not one is from a popular or "genre" novel. She makes a few comments about how when she was young she read everything voraciously, "big crappy novels" and "childhood classics" - before she discovered there were "good books" out there.
Everyone has their comfort zone. Her chapters consist mostly of her saying "Here is something writers need to do well, and here is a lengthy excerpt from some highly literary work that does it well. How about Plot? Tolkien are "big crappy novels. But I doubt it. And in recent years I have become quite convinced of the value of knowing your classics, even if what you really love is fantasy and science fiction.
And yes, Ms. But, I find her vision quite narrow, not even acknowledging this other dimension of reading and writing which draws people to books.
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
Close Reading Can creative writing be taught? Because if what people mean is: Can the love of language be taught? Can a gift for storytelling be taught? Instead I answer by recalling my own most valuable experience, not as a teacher but as a student in one of the few fiction workshops I took. This was in the s, during my brief career as a graduate student in medieval English literature, when I was allowed the indulgence of taking one fiction class. Its generous teacher showed me, among other things, how to line edit my work.
My Notes on Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose
Reading Like a Writer