Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

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9780060560423: Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

Here's what I tell my students on the first day when I teach one of my creative writing courses: You will be published if you possess three qualities -- talent, passion, and discipline.

In Write Away, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth George offers would-be writers exactly what they need to know about how to construct a novel. She provides a detailed overview of the craft and gives helpful instruction on all elements of writing, from setting and plot to technique and process. To illustrate her points, George presents excerpts from a number of well-known writers, including Barbara Kingsolver, Harper Lee, E. M. Forster, John Irving, Toni Morrison, Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and Alice Hoffman.

In addition to being a clear and concise guide to fiction writing, Write Away also opens a window into the life of Elizabeth George. It reveals the inspiring personal story of how the distinguished author came to be published and how she meticulously researches and crafts her novels.

I have a love-hate relationship with the writing life. I wouldn't wish to have any other kind of life . . . and on the other hand, I wish it were easier. And it never is. The reward comes sentence by sentence. The reward comes in the unexpected inspiration. The reward comes from creating a character who lives and breathes and is perfectly real. But such effort it takes to attain the reward! I would never have believed it would take such effort.

Elizabeth George started her career as a teacher and has spent several years teaching creative writing. She has a solid understanding of the craft and a storyteller's enticing way of passing along helpful information, all of which comes through marvelously in this informative book.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth George is the New York Times and international bestselling author of thirteen novels of psychological suspense set in England, and is the recipient of literary awards from France, Germany, and the United States. She lives in Huntington Beach, California, and in London.

From Publishers Weekly:

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.
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