A distinguished novelist and critic inspires readers and writers with this inside look at how the professionals read--and write. Long before there were creative writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says Francine Prose. As she takes us on a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters--Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov--Prose discovers why these writers endure. She takes pleasure in the signature elements of such outsatanding writers as Philip Roth, Isaac Babel, John Le Carré, James Joyce, and Katherine Mansfield. Throughout, she cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted. Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart.
The Oxford Guide to Style for Writers and Editors is the essential manual for anyone who needs a discerning guide through the innumerable choices and complexities of editorial method. Based on the house style of Oxford University Press, this book replaces two highly successful titles, Hart's Rules (OUP) and the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors. It combines, updates and expands these two earlier titles to provide a fully comprehensive guide to the subject of editorial practice. With a new grammar and usage section, alphabetic entries, and full cross-references, it is both authoritative and easy to use. A valuable guide for all those who use words professionally or in their studies - from novice proofreaders and trainee editorial staff to journalists, authors, and thesis or dissertation writers - this book aims to provide a one- stop reference with comprehensive and helpful advice.
Richard Hugo, whom Carolyn Kizer called "one of the most passionate, energetic and honest poets living," was that rare phenomenon--a distinguished poet who was also an inspiring teacher. The Triggering Town is Hugo's classic collection of lectures, essays, and reflections, all "directed toward helping with that silly, absurd, maddening, futile, enormously rewarding activity: writing poems." From pieces that include "Writing off the Subject" and "How Poets Make a Living," anyone, from the beginning poet to the mature writer to the lover of literature, will benefit greatly from Hugo's playful and profound insights into the mysteries of literary creation.
"Mary Oliver would probably never admit to anything so grandiose as an effort to connect the conscious mind and the heart (that's what she says poetry can do), but that is exactly what she accomplishes in this stunning little handbook."--Los Angeles Times
From the beloved and acclaimed poet, an ultimate guide to writing and understanding poetry.
With passion and wit, Mary Oliver skillfully imparts expertise from her long, celebrated career as a disguised poet. She walks readers through exactly how a poem is built, from meter and rhyme, to form and diction, to sound and sense, drawing on poems by Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and others. This handbook is an invaluable glimpse into Oliver's prolific mind--a must-have for all poetry-lovers.
Pulitzer-prize winning poet and National Book Award winner, Mary Oliver, provides a graceful manual on the mechanics of poetical composition.
Poets and those who simply want to understand poetry will enjoy this study of poetry as a conscious craft.
Breaking down the basics with examples from well-known poems, Oliver shows how the dimensions of sound and rhythm (musicality) and lyrical words (assonance, alliteration, etc.) can combine to make powerful verse. She enables readers to "enter the thudding deeps and the rippling shallows of sound-pleasure and rhythm-pleasure that intensify both the poem's narrative and its ideas."
The Art Of series is a new series of brief books by contemporary writers on important craft issues. Each book investigates an element of the craft of fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry by discussing works by authors past and present. The books in the Art Of series are not strictly manuals, but serve readers and writers by illuminating aspects of the craft of writing that people think they already know but don't really know. Donald Revell argues passionately for the transformation that imaginative experience elicits through poetry. "The art of poetry is not about the acquisition of wiles or the deployment of strategies," Revell writes. "Beginning in the senses, imagination senses farther, senses more." Using examples from his own poetry and translations and from Blake and Thoreau to Ronald Johnson and John Ashbery, Revell's The Art of Attention: A Poet's Eye takes the writer beyond the workshop and into the world of vision.
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said. 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'" With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer's life. From "Getting Started,' with "Short Assignments," through "Shitty First Drafts," "Character," "Plot," "Dialogue." all the way from "False Starts" to "How Do You Know When You're Done?" Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses "Writers Block," "Writing Groups," and "Publication." Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive. If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this book's for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eves open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life. "An inspiring book about writing as a way of finding the truth -- San Francisco Chronicle "Surpasses all the other books on writing already out there -- even the wonderful stuff by Natalie Goldberg, John Gardner, and Annie Dillard." -- Seattle Times "Well-written, funny, and useful." -- Denver Post "I ended up reading it twice and expect to dip into it again in times of need. I recommend this book to other writers without reservation....This woman is uncanny." -- Marie Winn, Wall Street Journal "A quirky, personal, mordant, down-to-earth guide to fiction writing by a wonderful novelist essayist. Lamott makes writing seem like something you could actually enjoy." -- The Nation
Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, Stephen King's critically lauded, "one of a kind" (Wall Street Journal) classic bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999--and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.
This national bestseller is "a significant contribution to discussions of the art of fiction and a necessary challenge to received views about whose stories are told, how they are told and for whom they are intended" (Laila Lalami, The New York Times Book Review). The traditional writing workshop was established with white male writers in mind; what we call craft is informed by their cultural values. In this bold and original examination of elements of writing--including plot, character, conflict, structure, and believability--and aspects of workshop--including the silenced writer and the imagined reader--Matthew Salesses asks questions to invigorate these familiar concepts. He upends Western notions of how a story must progress. How can we rethink craft, and the teaching of it, to better reach writers with diverse backgrounds? How can we invite diverse storytelling traditions into literary spaces? In the pages of exercises included here, teachers will find suggestions for building syllabi, grading, and introducing new methods to the classroom; students will find revision and editing guidance, as well as a new lens for reading their work. Salesses shows that we need to interrogate the lack of diversity at the core of published fiction: how we teach and write it. After all, as he reminds us, "When we write fiction, we write the world."
Two award-winning authors reveal everything you need to know to develop your own distinctive voice and craft compelling, creative nonfiction. When Emily Dickinson wrote "Tell all the Truth but tell it Slant," she offered sound advice for nonfiction writers: tell the truth but become more than mere transcribers of day to day life. In this invaluable guide, two award-winning authors show you how to take advantage of your own unique take on the world to create elegant nonfiction. In this book, you will find intensive writing instruction, an abundance of writing exercises, and more. This updated third edition covers the most up-to-date trends in nonfiction publishing, such as writing about gender and body size. It also includes practical advice for navigating the publishing industry. Whether you're a writing student or looking to launch a writing career, this book will help you take your writing skills to the next level.
From "the godfather behind creative nonfiction" (Vanity Fair) comes this indispensable how-to for nonfiction writers of all levels and genres, "reminiscent of Stephen King's fiction handbook On Writing" (Kirkus). Whether you're writing a rags-to-riches tell-all memoir or literary journalism, telling true stories well is hard work. In You Can't Make This Stuff Up, Lee Gutkind, the go-to expert for all things creative nonfiction, offers his unvarnished wisdom to help you craft the best writing possible. Frank, to-the-point, and always entertaining, Gutkind describes and illustrates every aspect of the genre. Invaluable tools and exercises illuminate key steps, from defining a concept and establishing a writing process to the final product.
A long-awaited new book on personal writing from Phillip Lopate--celebrated essayist, the director of Columbia University's nonfiction program, and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay. Here, combining more than forty years of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, he brings us this highly anticipated nuts-and-bolts guide to writing literary nonfiction. A phenomenal master class shaped by Lopate's informative, accessible tone and immense gift for storytelling, To Show and To Tell reads like a long walk with a favorite professor--refreshing, insightful, and encouraging in often unexpected ways.
While some people persist in the belief that essays are stuffy and antiquated, the truth is that the personal essay is an ever-changing creative medium that provides an ideal vehicle for satisfying the human urge to document truths as we experience them and share them with others -- to capture a bit of life on paper. Crafting the Personal Essay is designed to help you explore the flexibility and power of the personal essay in your own writing. This hands-on, creativity-expanding guide will help you infuse your nonfiction with honesty, personality, and energy. You'll discover: An exploration of the basics of essay writing; ways to step back and scrutinize your experiences in order to separate out what may be fresh, powerful, surprising or fascinating to a reader; how to move past private "journaling" and write for an audience; how to write eight different types of essays including memoir, travel, humor, and nature essays among others; instruction for revision and strategies for getting published.