- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Joshua Odell Editions (August 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1877741094
- ISBN-13: 978-1877741098
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity 0th Edition
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More About the Author
Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."
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Top Customer Reviews
And it's all because of books like this.
Zen in the Art of Writing is classic Bradbury: the crisp, short sentences, the vivid mental imagery, the amazing insights into his own writings -- all of it. This book uplifts me, moves me and fills me with awe.
It is, without a doubt, the best book on writing I have ever read.
Why? Because what he shares seems as pertinent to me as if he wrote it FOR me. Example: Page 17. One day, he discovered that his story titles were nothing more than a list of nouns, such as The Lake. The Night. The Monster. The Town Clock. The Carousel. The Crowd.
Such simplicity. Yet, after reading this book I found myself creating my own mental list of titles the same way. Suddenly, just about anything seemed ripe for a story, and infused with some hidden, dark meaning.
The Man on the Corner. The Empty Room. The Ten Foot Oak Tree. The Noise in the Basement. The Tea Leaf. The Knight and the Bishop.
I don't know why it works for me, but it does. Each of those "titles" (that I just came up with as I'm writing this) could be fleshed out into a story. For some reason, when I see things as nouns, my imagination is uncorked and I begin to feel the urge to explore the thoughts invoked.
Try it sometime.
Another example: The chapter "How to Keep and Feed a Muse." Priceless. Magical. He shares ways to awaken the sleeping giant within...and set pen to paper with stellar results.
If you're a writer, you need this book. If you're a lover of Bradbury, you need this book. If you just want to know how one of the 20th century's most lauded authors achieved that status, you need this book.Read more ›
I bought this book in Miami Beach. I picked it from among other writing-related books when I opened it and saw a chapter entitled "Drunk, and in Charge of a Bicycle."
This book is not about writing mechanics or technique. It forces you to face two absolute requirements for being a writer:
(1) You must love to write and do it every day, and
(2) You must use your own voice.
According to the author, the desire for fame, money, or literary elitism is as useless as a computer without software. (I would suggest that it's more like a program without a computer. Whatever.)
The last chapter, and the concluding poems, are inspiring. Mr. Bradbury knows that writers despise untruths. I finished his book in two evenings. When I put it down I said, "Yeah." Next morning I would be up dark and early. Writing is hard. Everything else is harder.
Even if you are not a writer, you may want to get this book just for Bradbury's zest.
This book is a tight tapestry of several ideas. It is part autobiographical, with the story of him ripping up his Buck Rodger's comics because his friends (like Job's friends) mocked him. Later he ripped up his friends as he stood strong for his conations and returned to his true bliss.
Bradbury also retells the story of his meeting Mr. Electrico at the carnival. Besides being the basis of "The Illustrated Man" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes," this meeting with the carne was Bradbury's equivalent of First Communion. He was never the same afterwards.
He also has some "nuts and bolts" tips for writers.
1. Let yourself explode. There are two types of explosions. One is the IED (improvised explosive device), where you just go to pieces. But there is also the explosion of popcorn. Be popcorn. Drop your restraints and inhibitions.
2. Write 1,000 words a day. This is not a whole lot, the equivalent of one full Amazon.com review. Trust me it works--it gets the garbage out of system. Practice makes perfect.
3. Follow a weekly regimen. Monday write. The next few days rewrite what you have written. This is crap filtration. Saturday send off the manuscript. Wash, rinse, repeat.
4. Don't think. That is, don't over think. Listen to your subconscious--that shadowy figure in the back of your heart that keeps talking to you. She tells you what is right or wrong.Read more ›
Bradbury (who turns 82 this year) is a writer of enormous output. In this series of essays, the author lets us in on many of his secrets, but the bottom line is this: If you love what you do, and are excited about it, nothing can stop you. Much of Bradbury's writing is connected with his childhood experiences and memories, which allows him to jump into writing like a kid jumping into a swimming pool on a hot summer day. Bradbury recounts many of his writing experiences and influences in the book and they are all fascinating. I can't imagine any writer (or lover of stories) who would not enjoy this book. It can be read in an afternoon, but savored for a lifetime. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for a real treasure.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a good read for writers of any genre (including non-fiction). I wish I had found this book earlier in my life. Read morePublished 17 days ago by A. Trani
This collection of essays give advice and inspiration to writers.Published 3 months ago by L. Moisan
Bradbury is always great- nice to have all these essays in one place.Published 3 months ago by LasVegasReader
I don't know of any other writer whose work influenced me to want to be a writer more than Ray Bradbury. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kent Merritt
It's Bradbury....what else is there to say? You get to read the man's diary practically here. One of the most insightful books when it comes to understanding the through process... Read morePublished 5 months ago by J. Walsh
I LOVE this book both as a person and a writer! Inspiration on every page. Love the sideways thoughts that sends my mind in a different direction every time i reread it! Read morePublished 6 months ago by E. Kelly
Bradbury has always been a mystery to me--his ability to write so well so fast while entertaining and making us think--and I've wanted to know more about his approach to writing. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mary A. Madsen