Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story
Completely revised and rewritten to address the challenges and opportunities of the modern era, this handbook is a short, deceptively simple guide to the craft of writing. Le Guin lays out ten chapters that address the most fundamental components of narrative ...more
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Prior to having read LeGuin's "Steering the Craft," I relied on three books, more or less:
1. Strunk and White - Elements of Style
2. Stephen King - On Writing
3. John Gardner - The Art of Fiction
In that order. Strunk and White covered the bare bones fundamentals; King's book covers the creative process and Gardner gets ...more
Le Guin's focus with these exercises is wordsmithing. I'v ...more
On first read, I thought it was too simple for where I was at as a writer. I wanted direct instructions about how to get the opening of a novel right and how to attract agents and publishers.
I still have a lot to learn as a writer, but I'm glad I've grown into seeing how helpful this book is.
On my re-read three years later, I found this book grounded, useful, and sometimes magical. There are answers here to very specific questions about writing and lan ...more
Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.
A primary focus of the work is the interplay of perspectives, characters, and sentence structures to create dynamic and intoxicating sceneries. It becomes clear how important and challenging it is to balance the right order of all aspects. To avoid idling and recognize a novel as a complex nested construct. ...more
It is Ursula Le Guin’s material from her workshops in creative writing - not for amateurs - as she says, and I am certainly an amateur, but to justify my interest, I also am an avid reader of her fiction, and non-fiction and science-fiction and always loving it, and wandering, how did she do it?
So in this book, where writers find tools to improve their craft, I find Ursula LG, for a moment lifting her veil, to sho ...more
Still, Le Guin has a wealth of insight on the craft and presents interesting arguments about why certain techniques are more effective. For example, she suggests that writers practice “psychological displacement” by having a viewpoint character that holds dr ...more
The Point of View and Voice chapter is absolutely essential. If you have the heart, the mercurial soul of a story, the rest can be tinkered and bartered with in the editing room. But POV and voice comes first, if not hand-in-hand with the essence of what you want to write. Without the how (whether you decide to write in the th ...more
The last couple chapters on POV, story, and voice is where the gold is for me. It’s not prescriptive; instead, it invites you to examine what too often goes unexamined, and possibly unlearn what’s been learned. There’s personal vindication in here for me, as someone who’s struggled with conflict = plot.
Climax is one kind of pleasure, plot is one kind of story.
In fact, it’s as much about reading and listening as it is about writing, which I happen to think is the way to write well.
I'm an experienced author with two series with a Big 5 publisher, a Nebula nomination, and a whole lot of publications with my byline. This book taught me something new in every chapter. For me, a great deal of writing is intuitive. I don't know all of the rules of grammar, and I still shudder at the t ...more
"Emoticons are dreary little excuses for a failure to communicate feelings and intentions in words."
"[Grammarians] declared that the pronoun 'he' includes both sexes, as in "If a person needs an abortion, he should be required to tell his parents." (With the proper context, this is more or less Ms. Le Guin telling misogynistic grammarians to GFTO, God bless her.)
I marked most of the writing exercises and know that I probably sh ...more
She was incredibly well-read, and put every bit of that reading to excellent use in a clear and concise work on how to write and what pitfalls to avoid as a new novelist, or an experienced writer of all types of work.