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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeously rich and full of inspirational juice for writers
This is not only a great book for the quality of the writing that captures the imagination from page one, it's also a rich source of inspiration and guidance to other writers. While Goldberg's previous books Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind opened up the actual process of writing and how to connect to the raw energy of our creative minds, Thunder &...
Published on 24 Nov 2000

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read her other stuff first
I really liked Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer within because reading it always makes me want to pick up a pen and write. This one, Thunder and Lightning, has a trace of the same power but it's a different book and you should read her other stuff first. It's wonderful because she is so open and unrelenting about the sheer work of writing plus there are a few...
Published on 21 Sep 2011 by A. Halfacre


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeously rich and full of inspirational juice for writers, 24 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This is not only a great book for the quality of the writing that captures the imagination from page one, it's also a rich source of inspiration and guidance to other writers. While Goldberg's previous books Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind opened up the actual process of writing and how to connect to the raw energy of our creative minds, Thunder & Lightning leads us on to the craft of channeling that energy to form structure and narrative.
The spirit of her earlier work is still very much in evidence however, as Goldberg refuses to offer an intellectual formula for churning out a novel, poem or memoir and remains true to her philosophy that writing has a life and a direction of its own, if only we get out of its way. "Don't think and plot too much. Surrender to the structure of the mind and it will give you much more freedom. We don't know where we're going: Trust the rise and fall." This liberating approach inspires confidence in me as a writer that I have the internal resources to "navigate the story as though it were a ship in deep water, a whale in the ocean currents, a dream under our sleep."
The appeal for me in Thunder and Lightning lies in Goldberg's talent for bringing her lessons home not through dry point-by-point instruction, but by sharing her personal experiences. Through anecdotes and reflections she recounts her internal struggles with the writing process, the knots she's encountered when writing books and how she managed to unravel them, the writers she has studied to deepen her own understanding of the art of writing, the people, places and situations that she has learned from. Her stories are delivered with such candour, depth and immediacy that they pulled me in by the guts. At times the writing is movingly soulful, at times it shook me awake with its high voltage intensity. It's also very funny in places. I didn't want to finish the book, but once I had I realised that as well as enjoying the journey, I'd also absorbed a lot of valuable insights about the process of writing and publishing, and about what it means to me personally to be a writer.
Three separate sections cover the subjects of Structure, Reading and Editing. The first plunges into the mysterious process of shaping plot and character, or rather letting them unfold organically from the material. Having been fired up by the ideas presented in the Structure section, I thought the Reading section might prove a little dull. I was wrong. Goldberg's descriptions of her relationship with books by writers like William Styron and Leslie Marmon Silko demonstrated how to get under the skin of other authors and learn from their work. It made me want to read or reread the books she discussed. The Editing section explores with gritty humour and pragmatism this important element of writing that many of us get unstuck on. How to refine the writing and stay receptive to necessary changes? How to take feedback and not get hung up on rejection or criticism? Goldberg doesn't pretend it's easy, and she's also realistic about the difficulties of getting published. But then she consistently approaches writing as a mirror of our spiritual and human path - we hit the same obstacles in writing that we hit as humans just trying to live our lives. Her passion for the task at hand and her compassionate encouragement for those of us compelled to attempt it is evident throughout.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Natalie Goldberg for Actual Writers, 3 Dec 2010
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R. J. Scott "RebRites" (Pittsburgh/Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thunder and Lightning (Paperback)
I have read and enjoyed most of Natalie Goldberg's books. She tends to bury the point she is making within elaborate anecdotes, so at the end of the book I can recall lots of interesting little stories, but few real nuts-and-bolts tools to help me write with clarity and truth.

This book is different from the rest. Each chapter is a discrete whole, with to-the-point essays illustrating the concept. It is her familiar chatty style, but with plenty of meat on the bones. It is not a workbook as such. It is much more readable, I feel -- it's something I can go back to over and over.

It also is aimed at experienced writers, people who are weaving together narrative, character, plot, tone, etc. in existing manuscripts. There's a dearth of instructive material for people who've reached that stage of development, but this book takes it all in hand. Nicely done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read her other stuff first, 21 Sep 2011
This review is from: Thunder and Lightning (Paperback)
I really liked Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer within because reading it always makes me want to pick up a pen and write. This one, Thunder and Lightning, has a trace of the same power but it's a different book and you should read her other stuff first. It's wonderful because she is so open and unrelenting about the sheer work of writing plus there are a few useful tips about structure and approach. But I've rated it down because it has an air of going nowhere in particular and repeats itself. If you are a lover of Zen and Natalie's writing then you will welcome this, if you are looking for inspiration and tips then there are better guides out there (Example: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft What is clear is that Natalie Goldberg is a great writer with a real eye for descriptive detail and, I'm guessing, a great writing teacher to spend time with. It's also clear she loves other writers. It's just a shame that she does not publish more of her actual writing instead of her writing about writing.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read "Writing Down the Bones", 4 Aug 2004
This review is from: Thunder and Lightning (Paperback)
This is a book I had been waiting for - not a book about finding your ideas, but about how to actually structure them into a peice of writing. Parts of the book live up to this. It does gives you little bits of insight on the importance of finding the right structure for your work, but I found I felt the same about this book as I did about Wild Mind; inspired for the first half of the book, then getting increasingly irritated and frustrated with the last.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 12 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Thunder and Lightning (Paperback)
Like her earlier books, this is a mixture of advice and anecdote incorporating a bit of Zen. As always, it is easy to read and full of good advice and ideas. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thunder and Lightening: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft, 22 May 2013
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Another great book on creative writing by Natalie Goldberg very useful for me. she uses her Zen background which gives a different slant on writing
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5.0 out of 5 stars lovely. perfect., 15 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Thunder and Lightning (Paperback)
Beautiful.

Now I have to come up with a set number of words to put here in order to meet the minimum requirement when I have already said all I want to in the first word.
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Thunder and Lightning
Thunder and Lightning by Natalie Naimark-Goldberg (Paperback - 30 Oct 2001)
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