Best Review of Write Free: Forget Other People's Rules, Liberate Your Creativity, And Write A Novel That Sparkles:
Most helpful customer reviews 12 of 12 people found the following review helpful. Wriing the right way By mike I love to read writers when they write about writing; I usually feel like a peeping Tom, and sometime they are willing abettors in the act, especially Eudora Welty, Pat Conroy, Stephen King, or Amy Tan's "Opposite of Fate", which I would recommend to anyone who wants to know what being a writer really means. They often expose themselves, even when they take the tack of writing a textbook, as do Annie LaMott in "Bird by Bird", or John Ciardi in "How Does a Poem Mean"--that I was introduced by my creative writing teacher Evans Harrington.While I got a little bit of that sense of peeking through the blinds in reading Julie Smith's "how to" book on novel writing, in "Writing Your Way: The Great American Novel Track", the author manages to seem modestly wrapped in a bathrobe. Her choice of a second person voice in the title throughout most of the book was probably the key. She seemed, as it were, to be looking back out of the slats at the reader. That was part of her technique, to focus on the prospective writer.One of the strengths of the book, was leaning on Samuel L. Clemens/Mark Twain's exemplar "Huckleberry Finn" as a template of what makes a novel readable. Clemens is undeniably among the greatest American writers. Plus his critique of James Fennimore Cooper is perhaps one of the finest warnings to writers that the find authenticity in their fiction. After reading Smith's book one of the things I would dearly love to do is visit her in a literary salon setting where we could discuss the marvels of Mark Twain; I would like to tell her why she, and Hemingway, are wrong about the anti-climax of "Huckleberry Finn", that indeed it was some of Clemens bitterest writing, and he could be bitter as milk after grapefruit.The strength of Smith's book is that of a good teacher urging students to just do it. Her three rules of writings: "Start it. Put your heart in it. Part with it." are worth the whole book. She says that many a writer finds themselves asking, "What would Shakespeare do?" That brought to my mind that speech by Hamlet to actors that could just as easily fit Smith's instructions, "let your own discretions be your tutor: suit the action to the word and the word to the action." While "Writing Your Way" is very pedagogical, it is also intuitive and helpful. My main complaint is that it is an e-book, which makes all those joys of making a paper book one's own with marginalia and underlining are missing. The most valuable section is on marketing: or in other words, doing what all writers write for--finding a readership. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful. Too good for less than 5 stars, even with faults By Will Bontrager This book has faults, and I'll get to them in a moment. Just want to say first that the information in this book is a 5+ pointer, even with the faults.OK, you're wondering, so I'll tell you what I found faulty. Someone didn't pay enough attention when the book was prepared for Kindle, or didn't have the skills to do a good job. A few extraneous line breaks within paragraphs. A place that appeared to have missing copy. Page headers at the bottom of the page. Small stuff. But enough to be somewhat annoying. One proofreading on a kindle would have spotted most of them.Still, that does not invalidate the information.The thing is, the information was exactly what I needed. I've been playing with the idea of writing a novel, making notes and writing a chapter here and chapter there. Never quite deciding exactly what it would be about.Writing Your Way provided the information I needed to make up my mind. And information that will be consulted as I proceed.It must have been a wonderful experience to participate in the class that inspired this book. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful. I read it straight through! By Gregory Peterson "It's a dry heat", they say, as though that might somehow make it better.As is my custom late on Friday afternoon I was ready to set out for a nearby restaurant to treat myself to a good meal. I had my iPad with me, and on it was Julie Smith's new book "Writing Your Way" which I had planned to begin reading over dinner.But when the sting of that `dry heat' hit my face -- it was 110 with no sign of cooling off -- I turned around and went back into the house.Within ten minutes I was settled into my Lazy Boy with a freshly microwaved TV dinner, a can of diet Coke and my iPad, ready for another round of what passes for dinning in the world of crusty ol' curmudgeons.[The paragraphs above will make better sense to you after you've read the book.]I had purchased Smith's book even though I had no illusions that I might have a novel in me. Though famous for my self-delusions (Scarlett Johansson will someday realize that I am `the one'), I can't bring myself to imagine that I can write. But several months ago I had been asked if I was interested in teaching photography at a new charter school being set up near by. Though that fell apart for reasons that I'll explain shortly, I had become very interested in the craft of teaching the crafts that underlie various artistic endeavors. I was eager to see how Julie would approach it.To my delight - and I could have guessed it from the title - I discovered that we're both pedagogic Buddhists. Buddhism holds that you must find your own path. Nobody can tell you the way.Smith's dismissal of the myriad `rules' that fill most books on writing was firm, but done with humor and a light touch that didn't put her at war with the authors of all of those other books. She insists on only one thing: Each writer must find their own way. In place of "you must always..." she offers advice, suggestions, ideas, insights, examples and heuristics that are bound to be valuable to any fledgling writer, and which are worthy of consideration even by well established writers.Here's how I had begun my now-abandoned photography course outline: "I can't teach you to be a photographer. I can teach you about light, and, as you come to understand light you'll learn the skills you'll need to explore photography. It's that exploration that will lead to the discoveries that will make you a photographer, though each of you will discover quite different things along the way."As it turned out the people who had asked me about teaching a photography course already had a canned curriculum, sponsored by a camera retailer, that involved giving kids inexpensive cameras, sending them out to shoot pictures with various themes, and then discussing what they brought back. There might be some merit to that approach, but I saw nothing in it that took advantage of my skills or experience.My photographic work is good enough that I'm often asked "How do you do that?". My stock answer is, "First, get fifty years of experience." That might sound flip, and at best not very helpful. But what I mean to impart is that if you're not shooting you're not getting experience, and in that way I'm aligned with one of the central thrusts of Smith's book: "Start writing."I'm tired now. Writing is hard work. But if you're at all serious about it you need this book! See all 20 customer reviews...
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