Reading Like a Writer
Long before there were creative writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says Francine Prose.
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 also felt de ...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
I have accumulated many thoughts about writing, from Francine Prose and other sources, on my author blog. These thou ...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
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.
The f ...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
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
Not surprisingly Reading Like a Writer weighs a bit heavier on the writerly side rather than the reader. Francine Prose (that HAS to be a pen name) has taught writing and so that is her approach to writing this novel, which by the title sounds as if it's meant to assist the reader. Well clearly what makes good writing is the stuff readers should be aware of if they wish to get the most of their occupation, so I can forgive her that. Another reaso ...more
In addition, Prose expounds upon her own particular literary Eurekas in chapters devoted to reading for inspiration and "courage," as well as an extensive list o ...more
This was one of the tedious ones.
For starters, Francine Prose (who is apparently a highly regarded novelist with many books to her name, but with apologies, I've never read anything by her nor had I even heard of her before) is very much a literary writer. Meaning, books should be Important and Literary ...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
In "How to Read Like a Writer", Francine Prose writes not a 'how to' book, but amasses a beautiful collection of passages from classic writers to illustrate her point - which is, you can't learn ...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
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
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
Así nos encontramos pasajes de este estilo:
"No escribas frases demasiado largas, a no ser que seas un genio como X.
[Inserte aquí texto genial de X]
No escribas frases demasiado cortas, a no ser que seas un genio como Y.
[Inserte aquí texto genial de ...more
Oh no, I thought, but I plunged further into the book and was "rewarded" by Francine "Deathless" Prose describing in breathy terms her most beloved authors and passages, most of which left me cold.
Some of her points were interesting; her chapter on paragraphing had some good examples, and ...more
Reading Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer the second time was a very different experience from reading it four years ago when I didn’t know much about the craft of writing. When I read it the first time, I didn’t find the book to be of any practical value. As a beginning writer, her assertions like “there are no general rules, only individual examples to help point you in a direction in which you might want to go,” only confused me and I didn’t know what to ta ...more
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
Reading Like a Writer isn’t a handbook filled with reading and/or writing exercises. Prose relates her personal experiences ...more