Becoming a Writer Paperback – 1 Jan 1981
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Refreshingly slim, beautifully written and deliciously elegant, Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer remains evergreen decades after it was first written. Brande believed passionately that although people have varying amounts of talent, anyone can write. It's just a question of finding the "writer's magic"--a degree of which is in us all. She also insists that writing can be both taught and learned. So she is enraged by the pessimistic authors of so many writing books who rejoice in trying to put off the aspiring writer by constantly stressing how difficult it all is.
With close reference to the great writers of her day--Wolfe, Forster, Wharton and so on--Brande gives practical but inspirational advice about finding the right time of day to write and being very self disciplined about it--"You have decided to write at four o'clock, and at four o'clock you must write." She's strong on confidence building and there's a lot about cheating your unconscious which will constantly try to stop you writing by coming up with excuses. Then there are exercises to help you get into the right frame of mind and to build up writing stamina.
This edition comes with an informative foreword by the late Malcolm Bradbury, a man who knew a thing or two about teaching writing, having pioneered the innovative MA course in creative writing at the University of East Anglia which nurtured, among many other writers, Rose Tremain, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro. It's a pity, however, that Brande (and Bradbury) define "writing" so narrowly. They refer only to novels and short stories--ignoring biography, travel writing, plays, poems, essays and reportage. In fact, Brande is unreasonably dismissive of journalism as if it were just an uncreative, prostituted form of "real" writing. --Susan Elkin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
John Gardner s gripping James Bond novels include: Seafire, License Renewed, Icebreaker, Role of Honour, Nobody Lives Forever, No Deals Mr. Bond, and Never Send Flowers.
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Top Customer Reviews
"If you fail repeatedly at this exercise, give up writing. Your resistance is actually greater than your desire to write, and you may as well find some other outlet for your energy early as late."
Right, now why was that so refreshing? Becuase she wrote it in 1934 and we're no longer used to such straight talking. Almost makes you feel like a grown up.
I would go as far as saying it is the ONLY book that has made any real impact on my work. If you have always wanted to be a writer but have lacked a certain confidence, or energy, read this book. If you are already a successful writer but find your work a stuggle, read this book.
Dorothea Brande is a very clever woman who shows in her book an unmatched understanding of the psychology of a writer - and uses this understanding to expertly encouage the reader's development. A strict but nurturing teacher, many great writers have and will benefit from her work.
Brande's honest and straightforward writing is worthy of your attention and I recommend it as one of the best books on living the writer's life.
What I found interesting: creative writing classes existed even back then, and they were for both men and women; the duality between consciousness and unconsciousness was already of interest for those studying creative writing; and the main belief of teachers like Brande was that everyone could succeed as a writer (as opposed to the more popular view today that only a few elect have talent.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first bought and read this book 25 years ago, and while it didn't provide the practical list of tips that I had been expecting, it took a much more valuable approach, exploring... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Debbie Young
I bought the book as a part of the Asian writer's Becoming a Writer course and found it invaluable. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Asha
I really enjoyed this book. It is not just well written (as would be expected) and a pleasure to read, I found some of the recommended exercises really helped me get past writer's... Read morePublished 2 months ago by sita
For any writing adventure - this book is a great place to start.Published 4 months ago by What's this?
Good on establishing the habits of a writer. But no good if you're not sure what to write or how. For that, I suggest 'Story' by Robert McKee.Published 5 months ago by Rachel
A wonderful insightful writing tool jam packed with must know information.Published 10 months ago by C Slough
This gem of a book has been reprinted many times since 1934 for good reason. Truly inspirational for the new writer & way ahead of its time.Published 10 months ago by Kirsts