The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House

by Lee Montgomery (Introduction)

Paperback, 2009




Tin House Books (2009), Edition: 1, 288 pages


An anthology of essays collects top-selected works from Tin House's Summer Writers Workshops and offers insight into writing strategies for a wide range of disciplines, in an anecdotal volume that includes pieces by such names as Jim Shepard, Aimee Bender, and D. A. Powell.

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LibraryThing member bezoar44
Great writing, as a number of authors in this collection say, is hard to explain analytically. So, the essays in this book split into two camps. Some -- I found them the most useful - take a fairly humble, craft-focused approach, and talk about elements that can be put into words: the importance of revision (Susan Bell, Chris Offut); uses of time (Tom Grimes); lessons from Shakespeare (Margot Livesey). Others seem to be trying to replicate the impact of a zen koan: the authors tell tangential or shocking stories, ultimately telling the audience to follow their instincts and be prepared to disregard all rules to produce good art. It's hard to know whether this is because the authors aren't actually great writers -- they're all published, but I'm not familiar with most of their work -- or whether they are quite talented, but just not able to articulate how their talent works. Either way, it makes for an uneven collection, but it's hard to see how an anthology of advice on how to write well could be any other way.… (more)


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