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Write Away: One Novelist's Approach To Fiction and the Writing Life Paperback – 14 Feb 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Ed edition (14 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340832096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340832097
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 498,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

An impressively thorough and down-to-earth guide . . . a perfect DIY guide for the determined new novelist . . . deserves to be in print for many years to come. (Terence Blacker, Sunday Times)

Indispensable (Mariella Frostrup)

'It all adds up to a hugely instructive and practical book' (Writing Magazine)

Book Description

An inspiring template for any would-be author of fiction from one of the most successful writers of crime fiction in the world

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By L. Miles on 11 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Rather than trundling out all the usual vague suggestions for plotting and characterisation, Elizabeth George provides a fascinatingly detailed insight into how she writes her own novels, including how she turns ideas into plots and then into detailed scenes. It's so interesting to see her unedited brainstorms about scenes which are now in her published novels. She illustrates all her advice with examples from her own and other author's work, so that even familiar advice, such as 'showing character through action/environment' (which I have found to be fairly dry in other books) starts to make real sense. Her comments about left-brained thinking, her need for intricate planning and her self-doubt, really struck a chord with me, and gave me confidence to get back to my stalled novel. I've read quite a few writing books recently (must start actually doing some writing soon:-) ) and this really hit the mark. Would also recommend Stephen King's 'On Writing', as it's in a very similar vein to this book, with great examples from his own work.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Each of the chapters (on character setting, plot, etc) begins with a quote from George's own writing diary, and throughout the book her lessons are illustrated with examples from her own work as well as that of famous others.
This is a good general book on the techniques of writing, perhaps particularly helpful for crime writers. It covers the basics of technique, like dialogue and character, but also has helpful suggestions on structuring scenes, and on problem-solving, with an emphasis is on the process of writing. It is, as it says, "one novelist's approach" and therefore just as interesting for fans of George's work as wannabe writers.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Nicholson-morton on 24 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
Born in 1949, Elizabeth George wrote since the age of seven yet tended to avoid writing seriously as an adult until much later, finally getting her third attempt at a novel published in 1988. From that point on, she has written a novel almost every year, to great acclaim. She has won several writing awards and taught writing techniques. Much of her writing experience and teaching has been distilled into this excellent book.

Writers must read. It's surprising how many would-be writers hardly ever read books. They can read and speak English, so they can write, can't they? Well, probably not... They should read books on the subjects that interest them, the types of books they want to write, as well as books on how to write. In my time I've received so many manuscripts that lack even the basic understanding of page layout, sentence construction, paragraph formatting and punctuation - and yet all these basics are plain to see in any printed novel if the fledgling writers bothered to look.

Like all art forms, writing has to be practised and learned. Good writing is a combination of the craft and the art. You can't teach someone to use the right vocabulary, to paint word-pictures in the reader's mind - that has to come from within. But you can teach the technique of writing - and this is what George does with the aid of many examples from her own and other writers, such as PD James, Stephen King, EM Forster, Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, Martin Cruz Smith and Dennis Lehane.

There isn't a right way to write a novel. There are thousands of authors and probably all of them have different approaches. But what the majority do have is bum glue - discipline. If you don't sit down and write, then you don't get the work done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lou Ice on 6 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
One of the best books I've read on writing. Instead of a boring, technical "how to" book Elizabeth George generously shares her way of writing a novel.

It's a good read in itself if you want to know about the craft behind a novel. She writes about her way of plotting and designing characters and finding a setting.

Especially encouraging are the extracts from her writing journal that goes to show that even successful writers have doubts ...

She also gives an insight into her personal life and how writing is a part of it. I love to hear about different writers habits, how many hours a day they write and what routines they go through etc. etc. I particularly like the chapter about bum glue, how important it is to have discipline and passion rather than talent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Susie Q on 22 July 2010
Format: Paperback
I found this book by accident when browsing for other books on writing. What a serendipitous find. I found Elizabeth George's logical approach to creating a novel very easy to follow. It doesn't talk down to you as some books have a tendency to, and really covered the basics of crafting your idea into a finished novel.

I found the chapters on Landscape; Voice (You Gotta Have 'Tude) and constructing Scenes, particularly helpful. She covered aspects of writing that I haven't come across in other publications.

If you prefer to construct and write a novel 'by the seat of your pants' then this book won't appeal to you. But, if like me you prefer a structured approach to your writing then I would highly recommend you add this book to your reading pile.
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