cover image <em> </em>Steering the Craft: A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story[em] [/em]

Steering the Craft: A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story[em] [/em]

Ursula K. Le Guin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner, $14.95 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-0-544-61161-0

This is not a book for beginners, warns Le Guin (Cheek by Jowl), but it would be churlish to deny the benefits of this thoughtful, concise volume to anyone serious about becoming a writer. Originally written in 1998 and based on Le Guin’s workshop of the same name, the book has been revised by her based on reader feedback and on the vast changes that have occurred in publishing over the years. But some issues remain constant, and Le Guin explores them in a familiar, breezy style that is admirably direct, and as entertaining as it is enlightening. The topics she examines include the sound and rhythm of language in writing; the need to understand the rules of grammar, if only to break them; point of view and narrative voice; and the judicious use of adjective, adverbs, and verbs. In essence, Le Guin reveals the art of craft and the craft of art. Each chapter ends with writing exercises that can be attempted in groups or alone. To borrow Le Guin’s nautical imagery, this book is a star by which to set one’s course. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)