Two Books to Pass On!

I loooove writing books. I do. I used to never read them, thinking I just had to *know* how to write. Pshaw. There's plenty they can teach you. In fact, one of the books (the Elizabeth George book) makes a point in the beginning that there are two elements to writing: art and craft. Art cannot be taught, but craft can and should. Amen.

So, first up, we have Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. This book feels like sitting in a class taught by your favorite literature and creative writing teacher. She talks about "close reading" - reading for words, for sentences, for paragraphs, and she has an ode to diagraming sentences that made my heart flutter. I'm such a grammar nerd!

One thing she says that I love is that it's wonderful to read the bestselling authors today, but keep in mind that they are just the period at the end of a very long sentence that is hundreds of years old. (I'm paraphrasing). I'm sure I'll be sharing insights from both of these books in more detail in posts to come.
The other, is Write Away by Elizabeth George. She, of course, writes in the mystery genre, so this book is even more applicable for me. She manages to talk about her proces and about her craft in a way that's very helpful, without putting writing in a box. And also without reducing the mystery to a formula. She contends that books are first and foremost about character, and that the unique characters you create should then be put into conflice that elucidates who they are. It's a very interesting approach.
So, if you're looking for a new book on writing - I highly suggest both of these!!


Melissa Marsh said...

I've wanted to read the Francine Prose one, just haven't got around to it yet. :-)

November 7, 2007 at 9:30 AM

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