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How to Write Like Chekhov: Advice and Inspiration, Straight from His Own Letters and Work

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  46 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
?Conciseness is the sister of talentOCO-and other essential, illuminating observations and advice from Anton Chekhov, one of the most deeply revered writers of all time"
ebook, 253 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Da Capo Press (first published November 10th 2007)
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Paula Cappa
Jun 08, 2016 Paula Cappa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading the letters of authors is often an eye-opening experience for writers. In correspondence we can find an intimacy that a writing craft book fails to provide. In How to Write Like Chekhov, editors Brunello and Lencek give us an experience with Chekhov that goes beyond a technical craft book. And for this, I truly appreciated getting to know Chekhov’s thinking and values as he digs deeply into expressing himself as an artist and a man. The book is in two parts: correspondence and travel mem ...more
Shane
Mar 17, 2009 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writer as observer, not solution provider or judge; his purpose to depict life as it is in all its sordidness - this was the role Chekhov chose for himself, and that message is very clear from this "How to..." book.
Despite that premise, the old master is not shy to be firm and prescriptive about the "do's and "don'ts" of writing.
1) It's not "what" but "how"
2) Reading, Watching, Listening - essential to the writer
3) Cutting Mercilessly after writing
4) Do no invent suffering you have not expe
...more
Russell Bittner
Apr 25, 2016 Russell Bittner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“It is high time for writers—and especially for true artists—to admit that it is impossible to explain anything. Socrates acknowledged this long ago, as did Voltaire. Only the crowd thinks it knows and understands everything there is to know and understand. And the more stupid it is, the more open-minded it thinks itself to be” (p. 14).


This is possibly not an easy dictum to follow for those of us who are merely mortal. But it is, at any rate, a dictum to chew upon—possible imbibe—and ultimatel
...more
Marian Allen
It's always interesting to read good writing, but this wasn't really what the title promised. The time reading it was well-spent, but nothing to rave about.
Cepi Sabre
Membaca Surat-Surat Chekhov; Belajar Menulis Dengan Cara Mengintip Surat Orang

Konon, selain membayar pajak, rahasia pribadi yang diketahui oleh publik pun katanya menjengkelkan. Rahasia pribadi itu tentu macam-macam jenisnya, tapi medianya, bisa disebutkan sedikit saja, selain rekaman video porno seperti artis papan atas, termasuk di dalamnya percakapan pribadi, surat-surat, atau catatan di buku harian. Anton Chekhov melakukan dua yang terakhir: menulis surat dan mencatat. Kalau kemudian dia ter
...more
Doug
Nov 13, 2012 Doug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an arrangement of paragraphs from Chekhov's work, many from his non-fiction on Sakhalin. Each is introduced by an aphorism constructed by the editor. The aphorisms are really classifications of the activities that Chekhov may have performed while writing the text.

An example: "Visit cemeteries. Study the graves and the headstones; notice the inscriptions; take part in a funeral." The attached passage describes the expanse viewable from the graveside, the headstone of a guard who was kill
...more
Shawn Scarber
Nov 03, 2015 Shawn Scarber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Chekhov's first volume of complete short fiction, I wanted to know more about the man and his approach to storytelling. I think I should clarify by stating that this isn't a writing process book. It's more a collection of insights, made both by Chekhov and Piero Brunello. Piero is listed as the editor, but I think he did more than an editors work in curating this collection. This is a guided tour of Chekhov as a writer and a man of medicine. Much of the work is in Chekhov's own wor ...more
David
Aug 18, 2012 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
The book is divided into sections, each of which (in my opinion) can stand separately from the others. As such, this functions somewhat like a reference book, or a book for pleasant browsing rather than one you'd necessarily want to read straight through. In fact, even the individual sections are broken down into bits you can read on their own.

If you are serious about writing well, this book might contain a sentence or a paragraph that could change your life. If you just want to be entertained,
...more
Erika Dreifus
My review of this book appeared in the February 2009 issue of The Writer magazine, and was republished here.
LeeFrances
Obviously whatever Chekhov has to say about writing amazing. However, the editor/translator had to stick their noses into every little thing. Each excerpt from his letters was prefaced by a heading and a brief summary. Chekhov is amazing, just let him speak for himself!
Kevin
Apr 05, 2015 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the first section, the quotes from Chekhov's letters, far more enjoyable and valuable than the latter sections. Overall, worth reading.
Drew Jameson
Jul 15, 2011 Drew Jameson marked it as to-read
Fantastic. Makes me feel sorry for Chekhov's older brother Alexander, though. Anton really called him out mercilessly for what he saw as sloppy writing.
Kristin Koski
Helpful when writing theatrical adaptations of Chekhov's short stories AND helpful when just writing AND helpful when just trying to live a "story worthy life."
Julio Reyes
"Digamos con franqueza que en este mundo no se entiende nada. Sólo los estúpidos y los charlatanes creen comprenderlo todo".
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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in the small seaport of Taganrog, southern Russia, the son of a grocer. Chekhov's grandfather was a serf, who had bought his own freedom and that of his three sons in 1841. He also taught himself to read and write. Yevgenia Morozova, Chekhov's mother, was the daughter of a cloth merchant.

"When I think back on my childhood," Chekhov recalled, "it all seems quite glo
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