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The Soul of Creative Writing Paperback – March 31, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 141 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412810515
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412810517
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,184,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Richard Goodman's creative collection was written after a lifetime of working with language ... As such The Soul of Creative Writing should be considered a top pick for any library strong in teaching creative writing, whether at the college or high school grade levels." -- California Book Watch

'Who needs another book on writing? If it's this one, you do. Richard Goodman examines--with the same curiosity, wit, and good sense that characterized his gem of a memoir, French Dirt--the soul of the writer's life. There is so much to admire about this book: Goodman's respect for the secret strength of words, his awe of 'the nerve of poetry,' his ear for the music of prose, his love of the puzzles and pleasures of punctuation, and his deep understanding of the malleability of technique. Though The Soul of Creative Writing is full of both aesthetic and practical advice, Goodman wears his erudition lightly in these ten lessons in grace, clarity, and sense of purpose. I loved this book and will keep it nearby when my own well has run dry and I need inspiration, prodding, or reminding that writing is both vocation and delight, worthy of a life's dedication.'-- K. L. Cook, author of The Girl from Chanelle and Last Call

“Any writer should read all these delicate, dear essays who wants to write anything better than she or he has done before, be it fiction, essay, poem or merely sentence. Who would guess that ideas about language and literature could be expressed so gracefully? Richard Goodman's essays do not blanket the subject of writing, rather they offer us peep holes through which we glimpse sunny mysteries. Blink and look again.”-- Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Abundance, a Novel of Marie Antoinette and Ahab’s Wife

'Including well-selected examples from literature throughout, this book will serve as a supplement for the modesty accomplished and a reminder for the more experienced. It should prompt experimentation with rhythm, sound, diction, and metaphor. Recommended. All readers, all levels. -- G.W. Clift, Choice

"This book is not just for writers then, but for lovers of words and writing. For renewing my excitement about what I've chosen to do for a living, this book deserves 13 exclamation marks." -- The Writer Magazine

"A first rate handbook for aspiring authors of any type of creative writing, be it short stories, novels, or poetry, "The Soul of Creative Writing" is a must for any community library collections gathering books on writing."--Midwest Book Review

"Richard Goodman's marvelous book, The Soul of Creative Writing, will instruct, delight, edify, challenge, reassure, and guide any student of writing to a personal best. The Soul of Creative Writing is a wonderbook of meditative instruction. Goodman's sympathy for the writer's dilemma, the warmth of his urging, the brightness of his enthusiasm all remind us that courage lies inside encouragement. We can find courage to write here, and support from all Goodman's tips and insights. Like the best teaching from the most inspired teachers, it's simply invaluable." --Molly Peacock, author of Cornucopia and Paradise, Piece by Piece

Review

"A first rate handbook for aspiring authors of any type of creative writing, be it short stories, novels, or poetry, "The Soul of Creative Writing" is a must for any community library collections gathering books on writing."

More About the Author

Richard Goodman is the author of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France, The Soul of Creative Writing, A New York Memoir, and The Bicycle Diaries: One New Yorker's Journey Through 9/11. He has written on a variety of subjects for many national publications, including The New York Times, Harvard Review, Creative Nonfiction, Commonweal, Vanity Fair, The Writer's Chronicle, salon.com, Saveur, Louisville Review, Ascent, French Review and the Michigan Quarterly Review. Richard Goodman is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Orleans.

Customer Reviews

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This book is an essential addition for any writer or reader.
Rebecca Walker
Regardless of whether you think of yourself more as a reader or a writer, you will find Richard Goodman's The Soul of Creative Writing compelling.
Nancy Jensen
Language is one concept that unites the entire human species as a whole - and working with it can be one of its greatest art forms.
Midwest Book Review

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Murray St. on April 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Richard Goodman has crafted a beautiful and inspiring book that reads like a love letter to the written word. There are 9 essays that examine different aspects of writing. My two personal favorites are The Music of Prose and In Search of The Exact Word. The first answered for me why there are some writers I love to read and some whose writing I just can't slog through. It's the melody that words make on a page which he brings to life with examples from authors I love and a few who are now on my "MustRead" list. But it's le mot juste that really stayed with me. Citing Hemingway, Salinger, Wilde, Twain...I not only have a fuller appreciation of the impact that a single, perfectly placed word can have on one's mind and one's heart...I'm also a lot more selective of each and every word I choose. Which, by the way, made writing this review just a tad intimidating.
And while on the surface The Soul of Creative Writing might seem to be, and indeed is, a scholarly book, Mr. Goodman's style is so conversational and inclusive and his love of writing so apparent...each essay seemed like a great piece of chocolate. To quote one of the author's own maxims..."If you find a book you love, don't hoard the discovery. Reading is not a contest". And so I share.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Attoinese on June 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Richard Goodman's new book "The Soul of Creative Writing" is probably one of the best books I've ever
read on the process of writing. Mr. Goodman's love of language and in depth examination of subjects
such as "In Search of the Exact" word will not only inspire you to be a better writer - IT WILL - make you
a better writer just by absorbing the incredible wisdom that is being so generously shared.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough - thank you Richard!

Deborah Attoinese
Filmmaker/Photographer
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Exley Cave on June 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As the title suggests, SOUL is the heart of the matter of this kazillionth book on creative writing. And the soul of its writer is evident in every beautiful line. Richard Goodman is a writer's writer -- his prose makes you stop and savor, and on each re-reading you hope that your own writing begins to resemble his. Put this volume alongside New York Writers Workshop's THE PORTABLE MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING, and you'll have all the craft-and-guidebooks you'll ever need.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nadyne Lee on November 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"The Soul of Creative Writing" is for lovers. Those who adore reading, those who are passionate about writing, and those who are committed to teaching will find Richard Goodman's book irresistable.
Richard Goodman has a love affair with words. They woo him in a powerful, seductive way. If words are elusive or difficult, Mr. Goodman searches until he finds le mot juste - the right word. He is captivated by the music, the poetry, and even the punctuation of a great paragraph. Even titles hold his fancy. Mr. Goodman's passion is contagious. He invites the reader into a mystical arena where pen and paper create characters, scenes, dilemmas, drama, and humor. Mr. Goodman teaches us how the word is made flesh. He encourages writers to follow their passion even if it leads them to write books about, let's say, the disappearance of card catalogues ("Double Fold: Libraries and the Assualt on Paper"). He encourages authors of non-fiction to turn to fiction as an example for character development, setting, and drama. Mr. Goodman suggests that fiction and non-fiction writers look to poetry for inspiration.
Mr. Goodman is not just a terrific teacher, he is also a writer who has opened his soul and shared his great love of words.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Walker on December 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Richard Goodman is one of the most generous and astute literary guides I've read. This book is a gift to writers--if you're stuck, you'll be moved, if you're organizationally confused, you'll find structural clarity. And if you don't truly know what you're writing about and why, Richard will help you figure it out. This book is an essential addition for any writer or reader. Its wisdom is helpful at the computer, and in real life, too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Jensen on August 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Regardless of whether you think of yourself more as a reader or a writer, you will find Richard Goodman's The Soul of Creative Writing compelling. Like David Denby in Great Books, Goodman celebrates the works he loves, but he goes far beyond the concept of "great books" by demonstrating himself to be a champion of fine writing wherever he finds it--literary essays, fiction, and poetry, to be sure, but also detective stories, speeches, and even advertising. Unlike so many of those who write about writing, Goodman is neither elitist nor prescriptive. Instead, with charming sincerity, he invites readers to articulate for themselves why they prefer one writer over another, why a particular passage moves them. Without proclaiming the supremacy of any particular word-music, Goodman helps readers think about how the music they respond to has been made. Without ever setting a toe across the dull boundaries of grammar regulations, he draws his readers into a delightful consideration of the flexibility of punctuation. General readers who may shy from textbooks have no reason to lay this book aside, but because Goodman encourages readers to think about how their favorite writers manipulate language, the book will be useful to writing teachers in all genres as a springboard to conversation about the choices writers make.
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