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Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the… (1998)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1292013,023 (4.03)29
One of the great writers of the twentieth century offers an exhilarating workout for writers of narrative fiction or nonfiction. With her sharp mind and wit and a delightful sense of playfulness, Le Guin has turned a successful workshop into a self-guided voyage of discovery for a writer working alone, a writing group, or a class. Steering the Craft is concerned with the basic elements of narrative: how a story is told, what moves it and what clogs it. This book does not plod through plot, character, beginning-middle-and-end. Nor does it discuss writing as self-expression, as therapy, or as spiritual adventure. Each topic includes examples that clarify and exercises that intensify awareness of the techniques of storytelling.… (more)

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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
The book itself is informative, clever, and well-written. However, I found many of the examples to be dry and irrelevant.
5 stars for the book, 3 stars for the examples. ( )
  TiffanyMM | Aug 14, 2020 |
I love LeGuin's sense of humor and also bossiness (marking the text with bossy little symbols, for hard words, for instance). This is definitely a book for beginner's -- great advice from a master, but for anyone whose written for awhile, most of it is very, very basic and practically second nature. A decent refresher, but more for young people or those just starting to write. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
“Steering the Craft” consists of 10 chapters, each devoted to a single topic. The chapters provide a brief turorial from LeGuin’s perspective, followed by excerpts from classic works to illustrate the point. Some chapters also provide exercises readers can use to practice the skill discussed in the chapter. The topics covered are: sound and rhythm in writing; punctuation and grammar; sentence length and complexity; repetition; the use of adverbs and adjectives; verbs; point of view and voice; changing point of view; indirect narration; and crowing and leaping.

For the most part the topics are covered at a basic level and the examples vary in the clarity with which they illustrate the point she is trying to make. The most useful tutorials focus on point of view and editing. Individuals seriously interested in writing who have advanced beyond rank beginner will find little of use in “Steering the Craft” beyond those chapters. ( )
  Tatoosh | Nov 29, 2019 |
Unsurprisingly, given the author, this is very good, very deft, very wise. It has excellent advice and exercises for freeing style from the "thou shalt (nots)" that abound these days, and some elegant insight into story. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
This book is worth owning and keeping by one's side during each edit of each draft. Fortunately, my library has it, and so I (hope that I) can get it back out for an exercise re-read once I start my editing.

She was incredibly well-read, and put every bit of that reading to excellent use in a clear and concise work on how to write and what pitfalls to avoid as a new novelist, or an experienced writer of all types of work. ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Winter, KerstinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sound of the language is where it all begins and what it all comes back to.
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One of the great writers of the twentieth century offers an exhilarating workout for writers of narrative fiction or nonfiction. With her sharp mind and wit and a delightful sense of playfulness, Le Guin has turned a successful workshop into a self-guided voyage of discovery for a writer working alone, a writing group, or a class. Steering the Craft is concerned with the basic elements of narrative: how a story is told, what moves it and what clogs it. This book does not plod through plot, character, beginning-middle-and-end. Nor does it discuss writing as self-expression, as therapy, or as spiritual adventure. Each topic includes examples that clarify and exercises that intensify awareness of the techniques of storytelling.

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