Reading Like a Writer
In "Reading Like a Writer," Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the work of the very best writers—Dostoyevsky,...more
I have accumulated many thoughts about writing, from Francine Prose and other sources, on my author blog. These thou...more
Her comments are geared to literary writers and often I felt insulted (as a lowly thriller writer). At one point she says, "Opening a mass-market thriller at random," and she quotes a horrible passage that I didn't recognize. She's telling us that mass-market thrille...more
My favorite chapters by far were the ones on dialog and sentences. Writing dialog is really tricky, and she doles out a lot of good advice.
(Once, in college, I brought a...more
Okay, on to the actual book. Prose basically starts by saying, I'm a creative writing teacher and I kind of dislike creative writing workshops. She then spends each chapter going over a specific element of style used in novels - in case you were wondering, the chapter titles go like this: Close Reading, Words, Sentences, Paragraphs, Narration, Character, Dialogue, De...more
Still, Prose brings up several excellent points. Her section on gesture is particularly good; it's easily as illuminating and Stephen King's hatred of adverbs. But I think what I will take away most from this book is her advice for when you...more
I've been parceling out the essays in this book, reading many books between each one, because the book is such a joy. Prose does more to explain how character, tone, what-hav...more
Francine Prose emphasizes close reading to best appreciate literary effects. She's not a member of a critical school; that never made sense to her....more
Divided into chapters on words, sentences, paragraphs, narration, dialogue, gestures - you get the picture - Prose (isn't that the most perfect name?!) uses analysis, anecdotes and extensive quotes to bring books and short stories to life.
What I came to realize very quickly is that I don't read very good literature, and in fact I don't enjoy it. My tastes are shallow. (And this is probably why I developed the h...more
I don't think this is a book that will make you a better writer, but it is inspiring and enjoyable. In fact, the book could potentially hinder a young writer, who...more
National Book Award finalist Francine Prose (for Blue Angel) is an evangelist for the practice of improving one's writing by reading the great writers. After reading her extremely thorough and humorous analysis of works that demonstrate the highest craft of wordsmithery, it's hard not to convert to her way of thinking, though not everyone will adore her occasionally dictatorial tone or agree with her choices of who is (and isn't) "great." At the same time, she is remarkably fair-minded in her ch...more
She explores the work of prose on successively complex levels, beginning with the focus on words, followed by focusing on sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialogue, details, gesture. She includes a chapter on Chekhov and anothe...more
I probably should've kept the harlequin romance, jesus christ.
I dunno. There wasn't anything particular that irked me, it was just an amalgamation of tiny niggling little things that built up and eventually overwhelmed me into putting the damn thing down.
Some of her points were g...more
"With so much reading ahead of you, the temptation might be to speed up. But in fact it’s essential to slow down and read every word. Because one important thing that can be learned by reading slowly is the seemingly obvious but oddly underappreciated fact that language is the medium we use in much the same way a composer uses notes,...more
The rest of the book is more a mix of literary analysis, advice, and Prose's personal response to her classics. Not that this is uninteresting or bad, just not exactly what is described in the title.
In regards to her advice Prose is focussed on l...more
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The only remedy to this I have found is to read a writer whose work is entirely different from another, though not necessarily more like your own—a difference that will remind you of how many rooms there are in the house of art.”