WRITE AWAY: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

Elizabeth A. George, Author
Elizabeth A. George, Author . HarperCollins $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-056042-3
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Here's a useful book for the novice writer battling the fears and insecurities that attend when she contemplates her first novel. Highly successful as the writer of a dozen novels of suspense (A Place of Hiding , etc.) and a teacher with significant experience, George reveals that those same fears and insecurities still bedevil her. She quickly moves beyond that to a consideration of the craft of writing—mastering the tools and techniques that a writer needs in order to create art. While George illustrates her points with passages from both her own works and those of numerous writers she admires (Martin Cruz Smith, Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, Michael Dorris), this remains more of a how-I-do-it book than a how-to-do-it book. Thus George will typically discuss an aspect of writing, such as creating the landscape of a novel, illustrate it with examples from various writers and then show how she approaches it. The result is an informative, instructive and idiosyncratic examination of the structure of the novel and of one writer's rigorously disciplined approach to creating one. George makes clear that writing is a job and that mastering the tools and techniques of the craft can go a long way toward making a writer successful. Finally, she advocates self-discipline, or what Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One ) calls "bum glue." As George puts it, "A lot of writing is simply showing up... day after day, same time and same place." Both aspiring writers and fans of George's novels should enjoy the author's insights into the creative process. (Mar.)

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