Thursday, June 12, 2008

Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers

It has been about five days since I finished Carolyn See's amazing book. It is unlike any other book I have read on writing. Not only is See inspirational, but she is practical. Several chapters deal with fiction writing, such as characters, scenes, and plot, but the majority of the discussion applies to almost any type of writing. (Note: See does not think the book applies to poetry and scholarly writing, but I think it may apply here as well.)

The content of the chapters is revealed by the titles. Some examples are “Pretend to Be a Writer,” “Hang Out with People Who Support Your Work,” and “Make Rejection a Process.” One point of advice I particularly like is See’s recommendation to write a “charming note” to someone you admire in the literary world (writer, editor, or agent) five days a week. She also encourages weekly excursions “to a writing class or a conference or a book signing, where you buy a book from a live author” (p. xx).

I highly recommend this for anyone who writes or has aspirations to write. Thank you for a great book, Carolyn See!