The Soul of Creative Writing
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The Soul of Creative Writing [Hardcover]

Richard Goodman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews


"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. 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 CHARNELLE and LAST CALL

Goodman (Spalding Univ. and a teacher at New York Writers Workshop) offers musings on creative writing (prose and poetry) for those who have already learned the basics. He divides the book into two parts. The first includes chapters on words--for example, "In Search of the Exact Word," "The Secret Strength of Words," and an essay about the limits of translation, which concludes with a caution about lingual hegemony. The second deals more broadly with "writing." This section begins with a chapter on how essayists can use the techniques of fiction and goes on to look at "finding a great title" (which this reader did not find convincing) and "the eminent domain of punctuation." The concluding chapter offers "maxims about writing"--a list of quotes and observations that, like the book in general, is more thought-provoking than prescriptive. Including well-selected examples from literature throughout, this book will serve as a supplement for the modestly accomplished and a reminder for the more experienced. It should prompt experimentation with rhythm, sound, diction, and metaphor. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers, all levels. -- Choice Magazine

"If every writer knew and loved words the way Richard Goodman knows and loves words, the world would be a far better place." -- Erin McKean, Editor, Verbatim

"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

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

“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." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"If every writer knew and loved words the way Richard Goodman knows and loves words, the world would be a far better place."--Erin McKean, Editor, Verbatim --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"A passionate, smart and often profound exploration of the craft and art of creative writing. Anyone serious about writing will learn from this book." --Alex S. Jones, Shorenstein Center on the Press at Harvard University --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Richard Goodman is the author of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France. He has written for many national publications, including the New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Harvard Review, Commonweal, Grand Tour, AWP Writer's Chronicle, Saveur, Louisville Review, Ascent, French Review, Pilgrimage and the Michigan Quarterly Review. He has taught creative writing in New York City for a number of years and is now associated with the New York Writers Workshop. Goodman teaches writing at Spalding University's MFA in Writing Program in Louisville, Kentucky.

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