24 May 2013

Writers [on Writing], vol. 2, A review

Well folks, strictly speaking this isn't a book directly on craft, but then again, strictly speaking I forgot to pack the book I planned on reviewing before flying 1500 miles, so... Regardless, this is a fabulous book filled with encouragement and practical advice from big hitters like Stephen Fry (he discusses writing Revenge), Margaret Atwood, and Arthur Miller as well as others.

These essays are so good, that I've taken to reading one every morning (alternating between Vol II, and Vol. I) before  I begin the work of writing.  Probably the best part about these essays is their generous spirit and the candid look into how other writers choose what to write about or how they seek to improve their craft.  A few essays are about what happens after one gets published (the inane question of what tools to write with rather than how to garner ideas - because in the end every writer will have to choose their own tools, and the "right tool" won't magically create the right idea).  Since this is a collection of essays garnered from the New York Times series under the same name, I wager most of you in larger cities can check them out from the local library (and maybe check into a quiet room at the same time, which is always a treat - check out a dictionary you haven't used before, too, and then you've got a party).

This isn't a book I'd add to a curriculum of Creative Writing, but since it has such a disparate collection of authorial voices and tones, I would recommend it to any writer regardless of genre bounds as an excellent additional resource, because even when one is in a creative writing class, it's important to remember that one is not alone - that others have gone before, and like Sir Isaac Newton, one can stand atop the shoulders of giants.

As always, thanks for reading.

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