Jump to content

Book Reports - Elizabeth Dawson


Recommended Posts

Art of Fiction

 

1. How did the book help you as a writer? What overall aspects of it taught you something? I don’t honestly know if this helped with my writing, though I did like a few of the concepts that he addressed (see #2). I had a hard time reading this, since it was so dense, and I don’t feel that I retained much of it. The “Write Away” book dealt with many of the same concepts, but in a much more accessible style.

2. What two or three major lessons did you learn from the book that you can apply to your writing and/or your novel?

  • I did like his point about writers benefitting from learning and applying technique, rather than “rules”. I liked the comparison to a painter - a painter who follows a strict set of rules will create a technically “correct” painting, but it couldn’t really be called art. On the other hand, a painter who is skilled in technique can apply that technique with his creativity to create true are.
  • The technique of describing things in detail and avoiding abstraction was a good reminder.

3. Was there anything in the books that obviously conflicted with lessons and readings in our novel writing program. If so, what were they? I wouldn’t say that I read anything that obviously conflicted with the Algonkian program, but the writing and examples used seemed very dated, and it was hard to relate them to them as a modern commercial fiction writer.

 

Writing the Breakout Novel

 

1. How did the book help you as a writer? What overall aspects of it taught you something?

In general, I liked that the book was written from a perspective of an agent, because agents are interested in books that people want to read, because those are the books that they can sell. After reading the book, I constantly had the question in the back of my mind as I was writing: Would someone (besides my mother) actually want to read this?

 

2. What two or three major lessons did you learn from the book that you can apply to your writing and/or your novel?

  • I liked the discussion on premise. I thought my premise was pretty good, until I read the discussion on “Gut Emotional Appeal” and realized that I needed to make that stronger in my novel.
  • The chapter on multiple viewpoints and subplots helped me think about whether I was throwing too many seemingly unrelated subplots at the reader at the beginning of my novel.

3. Was there anything in the books that obviously conflicted with lessons and readings in our novel writing program. If so, what were they? One thing that he said that conflicted not necessarily with the writing program, but with the reality of today’s publishing was that he could never see ebooks taking off. Of course, we can laugh about this in hindsight, but I wonder if it speaks to a certain lack of vision that he had about the future of the publishing industry.

 

 

Write Away

1. How did the book help you as a writer? What overall aspects of it taught you something?

By far, this was the most helpful book of the four in terms of the nitty gritty of technique. I found that almost every chapter contained practical advice that I can apply to my writing.

 

2. What two or three major lessons did you learn from the book that you can apply to your writing and/or your novel?

  • I’ve always had trouble with setting description, and the concept of using setting to reveal character helped me a to understand another option for revealing setting.
  • THAD - Talking Head Avoidance Devices - An easy acronym to remind me to avoid long scenes of people sitting around and talking to each other.
  • Her discussion of the different types of scene structures was enlightening.

​

3. Was there anything in the books that obviously conflicted with lessons and readings in our novel writing program. If so, what were they? I didn’t notice anything that contradicted with the writing program.

 

The Writing Life

1. How did the book help you as a writer? What overall aspects of it taught you something? Unfortunately, the style of writing really turned me off this book from the beginning. It just seemed to be a collections of musings from the writer’s life, some of which seemed completely unrelated to writing. I can’t say I got anything helpful from it.

 

2. What two or three major lessons did you learn from the book that you can apply to your writing and/or your novel? See #1.

 

3. Was there anything in the books that obviously conflicted with lessons and readings in our novel writing program. If so, what were they? Part of what turned me off was her opinion on literature. She pretty much said that the only fiction worth reading or writing were literary novels. In my mind, this opinion is in direct opposition to what is being taught in the commercial novel writing program. If only literary novels are worth writing, then I am completely wasting my time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 0
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share












ALGONKIAN SUCCESS STORIES



WTF is Wrong With Stephen King?















×
×
  • Create New...