Monday, September 20, 2010

Writing and Reading

This last week we had a three day writing and planning trip. I was able to get a lot done and it helped me refocus and work out some concrete goals. Very productive.

Besides writing, obviously, I got a lot of reading done. I'm hopelessly behind in reviews, so here are a few quick squibs.

I finished His Rules by Christopher L. Burge & Pamela Toussaint.

This book was an extremely good one that really covers any age or predicament for someone who is single.

Really enjoyed it and it was an easy read. The main thing that bothered me was their use of the MSG and sometimes their strange use of Scripture totally out of context...but really, an excellent book!

You can read my sister's squib on it here.

I read two Elie Wiesel novels, which I have mixed feelings about... I felt like his writing style wasn't as deep as Night. (If that makes any sense.) Of course, his personal memoir will probably remain the deepest.

I also think that because he wrote these novels in French (at least not his first or second or third language) which was then translated to English by two different translators, they might have lost some of their potency.
Night was written in Yiddish and the version I read was translated to English by his wife. I imagine she probably has a better understanding of what he wanted to say then a normal translator.

Interesting and thought provoking, but certainly not easy, warm-fuzzy reads.

I finished On Writing by Stephen King. I had some extremely mixed feelings about it. I would not recommend it because of language and crudeness, which is really to bad because King has a lot of excellent things to say about writing.

Books on writing are written by writers who feel like writing about writing. Duh? Yes, but I have a point.
I think these writers in general tend to be plot-first novelist and learn a certain way (I know I'm greatly generalizing here, but this has been my experience.) They don't cover everything.

I honestly don't think Stephen King would have woken up one morning thinking he'd love to write a book on writing. His publisher or agent told him to.

He has a unique perspective and writes from the hip, which is something most writers that have written books on writing don't do. He actually bashes plotting (which I do not entirely agree with). He emphasises more of the feel and rhythm of writing.

While I didn't agree with some of what he said I could feel the balance this book helped me take. I was very inspired to write and it felt more carefree again.

I know a lot of this book was things I needed to hear. Unfortunately some of it was things I really didn't need to hear too. So...yeah, what a bummer to have objectionable content in such a good book!

One specific thing he talked about was writing as telepathy, which was something I'd never heard before.

Here are a few quotes. There was so many good ones, but I'm only including two.

"All arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing offers the purest distillation. Perhaps I'm prejudiced, but even if I am we may as well stick with writing, since it's what we came her to think about."

"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut."

I read The Chosen by Chaim Potok which is something that has been sitting on my desk-shelf for some time. Mama has been telling me for awhile that I would like this book and I've finally got around to reading it!

We were able to watch a live play version earlier this year, which was very good and already gave me a grasp of the story. Reading this book was certainly an interesting experience.

I'll be giving this novel it's own post soon. :-)

So, yeah. That's what I've been doing.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian