So this was my book for week one 2010: Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose. I’ve given a challenge to myself: Read a book a week for the entire year. (Or so…I’ll give myself two for lengthy literature or poetry book!) I started here, with a book I had no time to read about a year ago, and now have regrouped and picked it up again. Why not learn how to read great stories, learn what to look for, gain some insight, and hopefully be able to apply it to my own endeavors.
Francine wastes not time in giving some staunch advice. Right off the bat, I love what she says here: “Finally, the passage contradicts a form of bad advice often given young writers – namely, that the job of the author is to show, not tell. Needless to say, many great novelists combine ‘dramatic’ showing with long sentences of the flat-out authorial narration that is, I guess, what is meant by telling. And the warning against telling leads to a confusion that causes novice writers to think that everything should be acted out – when in fact the responsibility of showing should be assumed by the energetic and specific use of language. There are many occasions in literature in which telling is far more effective than showing.”
Francine Prose is the author of 14 books of fiction and a teacher of literature and creative writing. She takes you on a tour inch by delicate inch, sentence by sentence, through short pieces of our finest literature, showing a budding writer how to delve in and expand one’s own writing technique with fascinating advice and a wealth of knowledge she imparts smoothly and interestingly. Great read so far!