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Off the Page: Writers Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything In Between

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3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  65 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
How do writers approach a new novel? Do they start with plot, character, or theme? A. S. Byatt starts with color. E. L. Doctorow begins with an image. In Off the Page, authors tell us how they work, giving insight into their writing process. Gathered from some of today’s best writers—Paul Auster, Martin Amis, Gish Jen, Dan Chaon, Alice McDermott, and many others interviewe ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published December 10th 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Shonna Froebel
Jan 23, 2013 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it
This is a lovely collections of short comments about different aspects of writing, taken from interviews that Burns did on washingtonpost.com. Besides beginnings and endings, it covers characters, places, inspiration for writing, style, language, relation to reality and the differences between writing novels and short stories. Besides the actual writing, it also covers the life of writing, the relationship with readers, and with other writers.
I found especially interesting the bits from writers
...more
Kate
Jan 04, 2013 Kate marked it as reference
I've read about 20 pages of this book in non-sequential order, and I'm really enjoying it. It's a book of opinions, so for one question, 15 different authors will give a paragraph-long response, and they'll all be completely different. I love the variety, because it's not only broad and instructive, but also inclusive. The best books about writing are the ones that show you something new but don't instruct; through showing the struggles of other writers, I feel less like my own writing is ...more
Charlie
I hadn't heard of a lot of these writers, but they still had some good things to say. I finally got an idea, while I was reading this, which enabled me to start writing a story I'd been planning for half a year, so I'm grateful for the opportunity to think about writing on a technical level. And I definitely have some new books and authors I'll be wanting to check out.
Lisa
Jul 03, 2014 Lisa rated it it was ok
ok.
Stefanie
A lot of great wisdom in this book, but too much of the advice relied upon knowledge of the individual authors' oeuvre, and since all of the contributors are contemporary, I unfortunately have read very little of their work. Since most of the contributors appear in several different chapters, I almost would have preferred to have some longer essays instead of the short snippets that are sometimes profound but often don't say very much. Also, as a nonfiction writer, I would have loved to have ...more
Imogen Smiley
The only fault I personally had with this book was that I was unable to relate most of the writers and their comments to their stories due to not having read any but 'The Hours' by Cunningham. The advice was great but I believe I would have benefitted more so if I had known more of the writers featured in the book.
SmarterLilac
May 05, 2009 SmarterLilac rated it really liked it
I really liked this one. There were a lot of good anecdotes in here from some modern masters, including my beloved Michael Cunningham. The contributing authors shared a lot; nothing in these pages is contrived or superficial.
Saritha
One of the most heartening books on writing. This is a series of interviews witha uthors like Martin Amis, A.S. Byatt etc., and have been arranged by subject rather than by interview and therein lies the magic of seeing what such fine writers have to say about any given writing-related subject.

Linda Bonnin
Mar 22, 2008 Linda Bonnin rated it it was amazing
Inspiration for any writer. You can pick it up when you have fifteen minutes or an hour. A must-have for any writer.
Holmes
Jun 07, 2012 Holmes rated it liked it
Writers writing about writing - advice for writers and writers yet to be. Not my cup of tea though...
John Donnelly
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Aug 11, 2012
Somesuchlike
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Sep 29, 2011
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Alex Adams
Aug 29, 2013 Alex Adams rated it liked it
time to start that summa reading
Matthew Feser
Matthew Feser rated it it was ok
Dec 26, 2013
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Apr 02, 2013
Andrew Binks
Andrew Binks rated it it was amazing
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Jul 21, 2010
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Apr 28, 2009
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Feb 18, 2011
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May 14, 2013
Simonetta Broughton
Jul 26, 2015 Simonetta Broughton rated it liked it
Great to know how hard it is. I learnt about new authors too so I'll be following some of those now
Holly Woodward
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Apr 06, 2011
Natalie
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May 05, 2011
Jennifer
I'm always game for a book full of how writers work with tidbits of inspiration along the way.
Jamie
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Carole Burns’s book of short stories, The Missing Woman, was awarded the 2015 John C. Zacharis First Book Award by Ploughshares.

She is a reviewer for the Washington Post and editor of Off the Page: Writers Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between, a book based on interviews with 43 writers including Andrea Levy, Colm Tóibín, Richard Ford, and A.S. Byatt.

She is Head of Creative Wr
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