Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose – A Review

Reading Like a Writer

Reading Like a Writer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading Like a Writer‘ was one of the most helpful writing guides that I have read thus far.  It is by no means a simple how to guide on how to be a better writer.  Instead Francine Pose guides you through extracts of well written literature and cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words.  She explains that a good writer makes sure that each and every word in the story has a purpose.

Although it is not an easy feat to attempt to write as well as the authors discussed in the book (even a bit daunting), Prose has inspired me to be a better writer and at the same time a better reader.

Notes & Quotes

* ‘You can assume that if a writer’s work has survived for centuries, there are reasons why this is so.’ – Prose highlights that reading or re-reading the classics is as beneficial as reading the modern novel.

* Skimming is not my friend.  Yes I have a lot of books to read in my life time but as Prose advises ‘Skimming just won’t suffice if we hope to extract one fraction of what a writer’s words can teach us about how to use the language’

* Telling Vs Showing – ‘don’t tell us a character is happy, show us.’  There are however still occasions when telling is far more effective and time saving.

* Paragraphs – ‘A new paragraph is a wonderful thing.  It lets you quietly change the rhythm, and it can be like a flash of lightening that shows the same landscape from a different aspect.’ – Babel

* Don’t leave out the details! – ‘Details are what persuade us that someone is telling the truth.’  We need to trust the writer is in control.

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More New Books!

20130712_150618A teacher on holidays in a bookstore is a dangerous combination.  I need to get my read on!

New Purchases:

* Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion

* In The Shadows of Blackbirds – Cat Winters

* Reading Like a WriterFrancine Prose

* Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan