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Writing from Personal Experience: How to Turn Your Life into Salable Prose 1st. ed Edition

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0898797893
ISBN-10: 0898797896
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As a writer keeping a roof over his head currently, and a skeptic in general when it comes to writing advice (there's a lot of real blather and "expertise" out there telling people how to write and how to make a living at it--if the advice was effective, there would be a lot more writers "making it"), I was able to read this book and compare Nancy Davidoff Kelton's ideas and advice with what I consider to be the real world of writing based on my experience. My take on it? She's got it right. This will be a useful book for any serious writer, and could well turn people who've never imagined themselves to be writers into real ones.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Digest Books; 1st. ed edition (March 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898797896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898797893
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,864,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By W. Fitzgerald on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a free-lance writer wanna-be, I found this book to be inspiring, insightful, and very entertaining. Nancy (I feel like I've known her for years) shares what she's learned and taught as a writer/instructor and gives you really useful tips, suggestions, guidelines and yes, warnings about getting started writing for yourself. She speaks of the importance of writing from the inside out and showing your authentic self. Her humor, wit and candor show up on every page, and make this book as entertaining as it is instructional. This is NOT a book to guide you through the business of writing...it is a book to inspire you, to challenge you, to help you find the courage to let your insides hang out, put them on a page, and learn to revise, revise, revise. At the end of each chapter, Nancy provides you with exercises to practice what she's preached. The exercises really work, enabling you to actually see your work evolve as you move through the book! I gained so many new insights as I began reading, that I read through the entire book for its inspring messages, and then sat down and read through each chapter again. I recommend this book to any aspiring writer, as well as to those who wish their muse would kick in more often! This book is a true gem!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joan Mazza on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
WRITING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE is an excellent guide for beginning writers as well as experienced ones. We all need to be reminded to show the action in scene, rather than tell about it, using specific details and memorable character quirks. Kelton comes at revision from several different perspectives, each one refining the work, making it more inviting to readers and easy to understand. Most important, she notes that the writers who succeed are those who persevere, accept suggestions with an open mind, and trust they will find their own writing voice. Those who are discouraged by a few rejections likely want to be writers more than they want to WRITE. I will recommend this book in the next writing workshop I teach. As an experienced writer, I enjoyed this review of all the most basic and essential elements of good writing as I prepare to write in a new genre. ~~Joan Mazza, author of DREAM BACK YOUR LIFE, DREAMING YOUR REAL SELF, and 3 books in The Guided Journal Series with Writer's Digest.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Jarmon-Wade VINE VOICE on November 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
I learned so much from reading "Writing From Personal Experience: How To Turn Your Life Into Salable Prose". As a growing writer, I am always thirsty for techniques, strategies and advice. The author of this book has provided just the tools that a writer or should I say student desires from a teacher, who has mastered the art and craft of writing from personal experience.

This book is simple and quick to read. It contains exercises after each chapter that will guide the writer to digging deep into one's self to bring out those personal stories. It made me think about happy and sad events from childhood that I had not thought about in years. It will instantly provide you with many topics or moments from your life in which to write about.

After completing the thirty-nine chapters in this book, I feel that I am prepared to complete my book...a collection of personal essays. The author takes the reader step by step into unlocking the emotions, memories and expressions of your past and present. She also teaches the writer the basics that are sometimes taken for granted, but so essential for good writing.

Many of the author's classroom students have sold pieces to The New York Times and other places. She shares many stories about her students and how important rewriting is to the success of any work. She defined writing from the inside versus the outside. She also shed light on defining those that really want to be writers and those that just love the idea of being a writer and enjoy doing everything that writers do ...except write a book.

I encourage any growing writer to read this book. Sometimes you never know what you are missing...until you find it. I found it in this book.

PAMELA JARMON, AUTHOR OF "SINGLE PARENT SUPPORT"
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I'm taking a Creative Non-Fiction Writing Class and many of our assignments are actually personal essays. Kelton's book was easy and interesting to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I had the good fortune of taking her class in the Fall 2000. Her persona shines throughout the book. Her stories ring true with an authenticity that crackles. If you ever have a chance to take her class in NY do it! Her comments remind you of Dorothy Parker and the experience of hearing 15 strangers thoughts come to life is an treat you will never forget. Her class and the book are a delight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I can't wait to get started on the exercises! Ms Kelton does a wonderful job a validating the reader's desire to write and encouraging writing for the sake of writing. I checked this book out from the library but am now ordering a copy to keep and loaning my library copy to my partner. I just regret that I can't take Ms Kelton's class.
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