Prose reading like a writer

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prose reading like a writer

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

In her entertaining and edifying New York Times bestseller, acclaimed author Francine Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters to discover why their work has endured. Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart - to take pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is deeply moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliots Middlemarch. She looks to John Le Carré for a lesson in how to advance plot through dialogue and to Flannery OConnor for the cunning use of the telling detail. And, most important, Prose cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which all literature is crafted.
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Published 10.08.2019

Read Like A Writer

Whoever predicted the death of the book couldn't have been more wrong. There are more books around today than ever before -- so many, in fact, that a whole genre of books about reading has emerged just to help us make sense of them all. This genre has, in the last few years, developed so rapidly that a new example seems to appear on the shelves every month.
Francine Prose

Brush Up Your Chekhov

Review by Brien Michael Tags: literary criticism. But when MFA programs are legion and pedagogical anxieties run high, the teaching of writing has become anything but simple; moreover, consensus as to the best method is rarely achieved. Prose advocates close reading, a straightforward approach that focuses on the text itself rather than context or theory. I read for pleasure, first, but also more analytically, conscious of style, of diction, of how sentences were formed and information was being conveyed, how the writer was structuring a plot, creating characters, employing detail and dialogue. Prose spends the next two hundred pages close reading her heap of excerpts. Her examinations are exhaustive, and I think they are both to her credit and detriment.

This book has a simple premise—that the best way for aspiring writers to learn their craft is to read closely, attentively, alertly, appreciatively the work of other novelists. Prose proceeds to elaborate on what she sees as the pedagogical benefit of close reading by moving through a sequence of chapters addressing specific aspects of novel-writing, each illustrated with examples from writers she admires. It may be this hope that leads Prose to avoid most specialized vocabulary. As a result, her discussion of examples tends towards the impressionistic, rather than the analytical; she often seems to take for granted, too, that her reader will recognize the qualities she admires or finds effective, that she does not need to explain or justify her praise or her interpretation. I can tell that she is convinced, but she has not explained the basis of her conviction to me in a persuasive or useful way. Why should including specific details convince us that someone is telling the truth? What are the signposts of unreliability?

In such a bulging field, it is remarkable that there is any gap in the market, but an acerbic American novelist with the improbably suitable name of Francine Prose has found it and filled it. Reading Like a Writer is a clarion call for aspiring writers to do that most simple, time-consuming but enjoyable thing: their homework.
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Megan Write Now: How to READ LIKE A WRITER

Now, like many of my colleagues, I find myself wondering just how much success I and my students can reasonably expect. Useful teaching texts are few. Another difficulty faced by writing teachers is, paradoxically, the lack of interest many students show in reading. And those who do read often lack the training to observe subtle writerly clues. As a student, I rarely heard the word mentioned, although, like Prose, I became a writer because books gave me such joy. Her insistence on that pleasure informs her method: reading carefully to see what an author does on the page and between the lines.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.

She uses examples from literature to demonstrate how fictional elements, such as character and dialogue , can be mastered. Prose discusses the question of whether writing can be taught. She answers the question by suggesting that although writing workshops can be helpful, the best way to learn to write is to read. Closely reading books, Prose studied word choice and sentence construction. Close reading helped her solve difficult obstacles in her own writing. Prose encourages the reader to slow down and read every word.


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