About Me

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Writer's Notebook and Words of Advice

Slowly, over several months of "before bed time" reading, and during breaks at work, I've been reading a collection of essays: The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House (Tin House Books, c2009). I've found the collection, covering the craft of fiction writing, with one essay about poetry writing, to be worthwhile. A CD is included.

The next collection I'll be reading is: Words Overflown By Stars: Creative Writing Instruction And Insight From The Vermont College Of Fine Arts M.F.A. Program (Writer's Digest Books, c2009).

When I was a purely beginning writer, I didn't enjoy reading books like this, because I was still grasping to understand the basics of point-of-view, plot, scene, etc... I find these kinds of books to be useful now, because I can relate the ideas I'm reading about to things I've written or substantially written. I have a body of work completed, and several novels-in-progress.

I take what I can from these books, and lose the rest; just like reading a critique of your own work. You will find some of it valuable, and some of it esoteric, or something you plain just don't agree with, but the ideas are always stimulating, either as words to incorporate into your personal philosophy about writing, or ideas to reject.

I've added both collections to my ongoing bibliography of Recommended Books on the Craft of Writing. I've also added a link to the bibliography on my sidebar.