Buy books by AWers

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Francine Prose, 'Reading Like a Writer'

  1. #1
    eating cookies late at night
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    East of home
    Posts
    425

    Francine Prose, 'Reading Like a Writer'

    I just received this book as a gift (timed appropriately to my shift to focus more on writing) and I have to say, I am DEVOURING it. Anybody else read it?

    She makes some interesting arguments against writer's workshops, which would be interesting to think about in the context of the SYW forum.....lots of yummy food for thought! (my favorite kind)

    sara
    Very early in life, I knew the only object was to grow ~ Margaret Fuller

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,678
    Yeah, read it, thought it was good.

  3. #3
    Learning to read more, post less
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    27,863
    Yeah, read it, though I found myself skimming quite a bit. But there really is no argument for or against workshops, except in individual cases. Some workshops are lousy, or just not for an individual writer, while others are wonderful, or simply match what a given writer needs.

    It also depends on the type of workshop. Some teach things that any writer will benefit from, some concentrate on technique, others on the actual publishing process.

    All anyone can say accurately is that this or that particular workshop did or did not help them. I've had workshops that taught me nothing at all that I wanted, needed, or agreed with, and others that taught me all sorts of useful things.

  4. #4
    Word Warrior Skreth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Greater Toronto Area, Ontario
    Posts
    75
    A workshop I went to taught me about this website :P I think it was a worthy workshop just for showing me that much, even if I had learned nothing else.

    The book sounds interesting, although I have not heard of it before or read it.

  5. #5
    Dipwad vrabinec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Frederick, Md
    Posts
    730
    Gotta be a nom de la plume.

  6. #6
    Ships full of vampires are hell. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    14,745
    I've read it. It was one of the required texts for a class I took on reading YA literature (as part of my MFA).

    There's a lot to be said for close reading--for examining books that move you to see how and why they do. Word choice? Phrasing? How can world-building can be packed into a paragraph and yet also move the story forward? It's true that some of the best lessons on writing can be found by reading books.

    Want to know how to write a killer first paragraph? Take your ten most favorite books and read the opening paragraphs. Sure, you'll put (or you should put) your own unique spin on it, as you should.

    Emulating the masters has a long tradition in the arts.

    However, I do think the workshop also has its place. I will say that there's as much an art to critiquing as there is to receiving a critique. In some ways, you have to be a close reader there, too, both in giving and taking.

    Workshops (and critique partners/beta readers) allow you to see how your work is being read, at least by a small group of people. That's also important. No one will read something the exact same way, but if you think you're going right when 3 out of 4 people read it as you going left... well, you may have an issue.

    As with many things related to writing: There is no "one true way."
    WIP: Syncopation -- Rockstars! Kink! Reunited snarky enemies to lovers!
    Latest Release: Daily Grind
    Coming August 15, 2017: Close Quarter
    Coming October 2017: Outside the Lines

    Website * Twitter * Tumblr

    Please consider a paid subscription to AbsolueWrite to help with site's upkeep!

  7. #7
    eating cookies late at night
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    East of home
    Posts
    425
    Quote Originally Posted by vrabinec View Post
    Gotta be a nom de la plume.
    According to this, it is her real name! Though I thought it was way too convenient also...

    Well two things that have jumped out of the book so far (and I'm still very early in my reading/skimming of the book) are the notions that:

    1) the decision to take writing seriously means making the decision to seriously start reading, which is something I've been digesting from lurking on this board as well,

    and 2) the world of academia has really burdened the joy of reading. Prose's experience is with college teaching, both as a student and teacher, but this mirrors my experiences teaching at the high school level in that the push to attach quantitative value to reading and writing experiences leaves little room for encouraging the joyful escape into a book or the rush of getting thoughts on paper. I'm not trying to start a philosophical debate about education (though I can soapbox with the best of them ), but she talks about how when she finally got to teach the way she wanted to, she says she was finally able to be a "cheerleader" for literature instead of an evaluator, and I really relate to this as a teacher and a reader.

    Anyway, I'm off to go read some more...
    Very early in life, I knew the only object was to grow ~ Margaret Fuller

  8. #8
    eating cookies late at night
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    East of home
    Posts
    425
    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    I will say that there's as much an art to critiquing as there is to receiving a critique. In some ways, you have to be a close reader there, too, both in giving and taking.
    I definitely agree with this. I am in the middle of teaching two of my classes how to give useful, authentic feedback to the writing of their peers, and it is absolutely a learned skill. I'm in week two, and I'd say about 40-50% of each class is really even getting close to what could be considered a real critique. They are teenagers, and they are used to viewing "peer editing" as checking spelling and counting paragraphs, so I actually view us as having made great progress!

    I do think it is a sort of close reading, and I think I will bring that up in class tomorrow! Thanks.
    Very early in life, I knew the only object was to grow ~ Margaret Fuller

  9. #9
    Sometimes I have no Y Charlee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    326
    I have it but haven't read it yet, the problem is I love to read like a reader I enjoy books and like to get lost in them...
    For interesting cards and gifts please visit www.thatcardshop.co.uk

    I started a blog! No one follows me yet, but I live in hope! http://beforecharlees30.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Learning to read more, post less
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    27,863
    I believe in reading as a writer, but never, ever on the first read. You can't dissect a book independently from how the story gripped you as a reader. It's old, old advice, but it holds true. . .read a book the first time as a reader, and if you like it, read it a second time as a writer.

  11. #11
    Ships full of vampires are hell. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    14,745
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    I believe in reading as a writer, but never, ever on the first read. You can't dissect a book independently from how the story gripped you as a reader. It's old, old advice, but it holds true. . .read a book the first time as a reader, and if you like it, read it a second time as a writer.
    Agreed. Close reading of a text requires more than one reading. You can't do it all in one pass.
    WIP: Syncopation -- Rockstars! Kink! Reunited snarky enemies to lovers!
    Latest Release: Daily Grind
    Coming August 15, 2017: Close Quarter
    Coming October 2017: Outside the Lines

    Website * Twitter * Tumblr

    Please consider a paid subscription to AbsolueWrite to help with site's upkeep!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search