Gave myself some serious reading time today and finished Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer which originally attracted me with its subtitle of A Guide for People Who Love Books –that’s certainly me, and appealed to the wanna-be writer in me as it also says its for Those Who Want to Write (Books).
Its taken me a while to read it all and its definitely a book to return to again and again. I enjoyed the way it deconstructs the elemental parts of any writing –words, sentences and paragraphs, and then moves to the key parts of the story – character, plot, narrative etc. Logical, easy to understand and relevant to lots of different writing styles.
Finally Prose - what a very apt name she has – tells us about reading for courage, reading to know we can write almost anything as many others have before us, and we can, like them, break all the rules. The message for me is that it is OK to break the rules but you need to know the rules first, even to put them into practice and then dare to overrule, perhaps and with care.
Prose uses an engaging combination of commentary and example, (or theory and practice) and what wonderful examples she chose. Chekov, Austen, Carver, Nabokov, Joyce and O'Connor to name but a few. So in addition this book served to introduce me to writers I’ve yet to read and some treasure i have missed, including an essay by Woolf called On Being Ill –that's now on my to be read in 2013 list.
For more by the same author see http://www.harpercollins.com/authors/14648/Francine_Prose/index.aspx
And the other daily stuff included more practice of quilt designs as my frame is still incomplete –hurry up please M. French Postman, a long walk in this wonderful January sunshine and an hour with my poetry. At last some time to review the 11 poems about the Alderney Stones, started in the Spring and much neglected until now. Have seen them printed out now, and read them aloud and perhaps that’s it –they are almost ready and I can move on to other writing.