Beyond the Writers' Workshop: New Ways to Write Creative Nonfiction

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9780385499194: Beyond the Writers' Workshop: New Ways to Write Creative Nonfiction
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An innovative new approach to teaching and writing creative nonfiction from veteran teacher and critically acclaimed author Carol Bly.

Teachers and writers everywhere are facing the limits imposed by the prevailing models of teaching: community or MFA “workshops” or, at the high-school level, “peer review.” In Beyond the Writers' Workshop Carol Bly presents an alternative. She believes that
workshopping’s tendency to engage in wry scorn and pay exaggerated attention to technical details, causes apprentice writers, consciously or unconsciously, to modify their most passionate work.

Inspired by a philosophy of individuality and moral rigor, Bly combines ideas and techniques from social work, psychotherapy, and neuroscience with the traditional teaching of fresh metaphor, salient dialogue, lively pace, and analysis of other literary work in her pioneering new approach. She also includes exercises and examples in an extensive practical appendix.

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Many books about writing nonfiction are actually spiritual-quest road maps. They might call themselves writing guides, but they have more to do with self-help than writing. While those books certainly have their place, it is bracing to come across one that's more stringent about words on the page. In Beyond the Writers' Workshop, Carol Bly rails against what she sees as a state of cultural deprivation in the United States. She calls on all writers and their teachers to remove "as many of the influences and instruments or conventions that cause 'dumbing down' as we can." Elementary-school teaching, says Bly (who also wrote The Passionate, Accurate Story), is so focused on making sure the children have fun that they don't have a chance to take themselves seriously; MFA students get stuck "writing decorative humbug"; and older-adult writers are predisposed to penning affectionate, empty memoirs.

Bly's aim is to help writers deepen their writing. She argues for formality, both in the writing and in the classroom: it makes the writing more potent and acts as "a weapon against smirking." She is a strong believer in empathic questioning; has chapters on stage-development philosophy and neuroscience; and recommends that writers sharpen their prose by "scouring off wormy style," questioning any "shopworn observation," and recalling "peculiar details that no one else could fake." The 15 writing exercises at the back of the book will likely send writers digging inward. And though Bly criticizes the dispassionate "museumgoer" mentality, she claims that it is good for a writer to be a generalist. "The more material you have to work with," she says, "the more likely you are to produce fresh, unexpected connections." --Jane Steinberg

From the Back Cover:

“Bly provides excellent discussions...of the writer’s craft, but she also delves deeper.... She excels at coaxing writers...toward a larger vision of life and literature.”–The Plain Dealer on The Passionate, Accurate Story

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Anchor Books. Language: English. Brand new Book. An innovative new approach to teaching and writing creative nonfiction from veteran teacher and critically acclaimed author Carol Bly. Teachers and writers everywhere are facing the limits imposed by the prevailing models of teaching: community or MFA "workshops" or, at the high-school level, "peer review." In Beyond the Writers' Workshop Carol Bly presents an alternative. She believes that workshopping's tendency to engage in wry scorn and pay exaggerated attention to technical details, causes apprentice writers, consciously or unconsciously, to modify their most passionate work. Inspired by a philosophy of individuality and moral rigor, Bly combines ideas and techniques from social work, psychotherapy, and neuroscience with the traditional teaching of fresh metaphor, salient dialogue, lively pace, and analysis of other literary work in her pioneering new approach. She also includes exercises and examples in an extensive practical appendix. Seller Inventory # AAC9780385499194

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Anchor Books. Language: English. Brand new Book. An innovative new approach to teaching and writing creative nonfiction from veteran teacher and critically acclaimed author Carol Bly. Teachers and writers everywhere are facing the limits imposed by the prevailing models of teaching: community or MFA "workshops" or, at the high-school level, "peer review." In Beyond the Writers' Workshop Carol Bly presents an alternative. She believes that workshopping's tendency to engage in wry scorn and pay exaggerated attention to technical details, causes apprentice writers, consciously or unconsciously, to modify their most passionate work. Inspired by a philosophy of individuality and moral rigor, Bly combines ideas and techniques from social work, psychotherapy, and neuroscience with the traditional teaching of fresh metaphor, salient dialogue, lively pace, and analysis of other literary work in her pioneering new approach. She also includes exercises and examples in an extensive practical appendix. Seller Inventory # BTE9780385499194

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Anchor Books. Language: English. Brand new Book. An innovative new approach to teaching and writing creative nonfiction from veteran teacher and critically acclaimed author Carol Bly. Teachers and writers everywhere are facing the limits imposed by the prevailing models of teaching: community or MFA "workshops" or, at the high-school level, "peer review." In Beyond the Writers' Workshop Carol Bly presents an alternative. She believes that workshopping's tendency to engage in wry scorn and pay exaggerated attention to technical details, causes apprentice writers, consciously or unconsciously, to modify their most passionate work. Inspired by a philosophy of individuality and moral rigor, Bly combines ideas and techniques from social work, psychotherapy, and neuroscience with the traditional teaching of fresh metaphor, salient dialogue, lively pace, and analysis of other literary work in her pioneering new approach. She also includes exercises and examples in an extensive practical appendix. Seller Inventory # AAC9780385499194

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