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Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who… (2006)

by Francine Prose

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3,415953,180 (3.74)226
Before there were workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says author and teacher Prose. Prose invites you on a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the very best writers and discovers why their work has endured. She takes pleasure in the magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliot's Middlemarch. She looks to John Le Carré for how to advance plot through dialogue, to Flannery O'Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail, and to James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield for clever examples of how to employ gesture to create character. She cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted.--From publisher description.… (more)
  1. 00
    Lady with Lapdog and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov (sturlington)
    sturlington: Prose refers to the short stories of Chekhov extensively.
  2. 00
    How Novels Work by John Mullan (ajsomerset)
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» See also 226 mentions

English (93)  Spanish (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
pretty good book, boring at times, engaging at others. gave me a few good ideas. ( )
  AceVonS | Jul 14, 2022 |
I read this recently and liked it, but as so often with "how to write" books, it seems that Prose doesn't actually understand very deeply the relation of her reading to her writing. Which is fine. It likely isn't subsumable in words. This is a noble effort. ( )
  AnnKlefstad | Feb 4, 2022 |
For those who aspire to write fiction, Francine Prose offers insights into writing styles and devices used by classic authors as well as some modern ones. Some of the quoted passages went on and on. It offers little in the way of advice for those whose writing interest lies in non-fiction. Perhaps the best feature of the book is the bibliography of what you should read now. ( )
  thornton37814 | Nov 15, 2021 |
examples of good writing
  ritaer | Aug 7, 2021 |
It was a pleasure to read this book. Francine Prose examines dozens of works by authors ranging from Chekhov to Jane Austen to Elmore Leonard. Organized into sections on Words, Sentences, Paragraphs, Narration, Character, Dialogue, Details and Gesture, she gives us the tools so we can look under the hood at art and discover what makes great literature great. ( )
  LenJoy | Mar 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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This book is dedicated to my teachers:
Monroe Engel, Alberta Magzanian, and Phil Schwartz.
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Can creative writing be taught?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Before there were workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says author and teacher Prose. Prose invites you on a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the very best writers and discovers why their work has endured. She takes pleasure in the magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliot's Middlemarch. She looks to John Le Carré for how to advance plot through dialogue, to Flannery O'Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail, and to James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield for clever examples of how to employ gesture to create character. She cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted.--From publisher description.

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Book description
In this book — subtitled "A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them," — Prose shares how she developed her writing craft through writing and reading. She uses examples from literature to demonstrate how fictional elements, such as character and dialogue, can be mastered.
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