Writing Workshop in a Book

Back in November, B&N offered Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose for $1.99 (gotta love NaNoWriMo deals).

If you can say this title 10 times fast, you are amazing.

If you can say this title 10 times fast, you are amazing.

I finally got around to reading it, in bits & spurts, throughout my winter semester, and finally finished it today.

If you like writing, or reading about the writing process, I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. Prose has a great outlook on great books – some of which I’ve read, some of which are now on my TBR list. She points out that you probably should not write if you do not read copiously, because it is by reading the works of others that you learn how to write.

Now, you’ve probably heard that advice before. So why bother reading her book, right? Because she proceeds to walk you through how she analyzes great works. She provides snippets & synopses, so you can understand what she’s talking about whether you have read the book or not (though I cannot stress strongly enough that if you have not read the book, you will want to read it).

The best thing, though, is her positive outlook. Read the greats, and don’t feel discouraged that they wrote so beautifully in a way that you can probably never accomplish, yourself. Feel encouraged that you have the best mentors available for writing, and you can access them anytime, in an easily transportable fashion, in most locations.

Even if you can read in a movie theater, you probably shouldn't.

Even if you can read in a movie theater, you probably shouldn’t.

Here are some of my favorite, current quotes:

“It’s a good idea to have a designated section of your bookshelf…for books by writers who have obviously worked on their sentences, revising and polishing them into gems that continue to dazzle us. These are works you can turn to whenever you feel that your own style is getting a little slack or lazy or vague.”

“Literature is an endless source of courage and confirmation. The reader and beginning writer can count on being heartened by all the brave and original works that have been written without the slightest regard for how strange or risky they were, or for what the writer’s mother might have thought when she read them.”

Something I love about this book, is that I can tell I can pick it up at anytime, choose a chapter for purpose or at random, and feel energized to write as a result. And also that new favorite quotes will crop up with every reading.

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