Wednesday, December 26, 2012


… Ten rules for writing fiction(part two) | Books | (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

1 comment:

  1. 'Hilary Mantel

    [. . .]

    '2 Read Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande. Then do what it says, including the tasks you think are impossible. You will particularly hate the advice to write first thing in the morning, but if you can manage it, it might well be the best thing you ever do for yourself. This book is about becoming a writer from the inside out. Many later advice manuals derive from it. You don't really need any others, though if you want to boost your confidence, "how to" books seldom do any harm. You can kick-start a whole book with some little writing exercise.'

    After having run across this comment by Hilary Mantel in this Guardian article, I ran across this in a Five Books interview:

    'Sophie King on Creative Writing

    'The author and creative writing teacher tells us where to go for tips on finding one's voice, grabbing readers' attention and getting published

    [. . .]

    'Becoming a Writer

    'By Dorothea Brande

    'Shall we start with the oldest book? Tell us about the "Dorothea Brande".

    'This is probably my favourite book on the theme. It might seem slightly old fashioned but it is actually very quietly clever. For example, it describes things that many writers feel and it's not until you actually read about them that you realise these are not feelings unique to yourself. When you’re a writer you’ve the feeling you’re someone who lives in your own world. Every now and then you come across someone who thinks the same way as you and it’s very illuminating. One of the things that really struck me about this book is what Brande says about writing and the morning, which is when I write best. I do a few things like getting my son up and sort of obvious practical stuff and then I’m not always able to sit and write as I’d like because I have other writing jobs, some of which are out of the home. But Dorothea describes this almost hypnotic state that writers are in during the morning. She says this is the time that many people write best. When you’re in this slightly trance-like state, if you have to answer a phone call or do something else first thing, it can take that away. Another of the chapters I like very much is about reading as a writer. She says you’ll often find that at first the only way to read as a writer is to go over everything twice. She says to first read as you did in the days when you had no responsibility to a book but to enjoy it. When you’ve finished she advises putting the book aside for a while and then writing a synopsis of what you’ve just read. Next say what you did and didn’t like. This will help you work out what you can do with your own book. So obviously not plagiarising but looking at the way that it’s constructed and seeing whether any scenes stand out in your mind. It’ll help you recognise some of your own weaknesses.'

    [. . .]

    Is anyone familiar with Dorothy Brande's book?