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Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay Paperback – August 31, 2010
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--ANNE LAMOTT, author of Bird by Bird
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Write about your closet. Write about the contents of your purse. Once you get started, you will be surprised that you most likely have gone over your 500 word goal. Of course Adair deals with all the elements of writing and refining essays and memoirs as well as sumbitting your work for publication.
Naked, Drunk and Writing, what more could you ask for.......
As a San Francisco Bay Area local, I enjoyed Adair Lara's columns in the Chronicle. Tuesday and Thursday started with a delicious dose of her wit and insight. So when I saw her name in my Vine list, I clicked on Send before even reading the book description.
Adair has written a guide to craft personal essays and memoirs, the relatively new literary category of creative non-fiction. She starts with clarifying what a personal essay entails. It has a goal, a struggle, an epiphany and a description of the changes that epiphany wrought. It is not about your ugly divorce but about how the ugly divorce freed you to become a divorce attorney. Do not be a victim: you will lose your readership.
She gives very practical advice that still leaves plenty of room for your own process and personality. Instead of insisting that the reader do exercises, she has little inserts entitled "Try this!" Her hints are in gray boxes for The Crafty Writer.
Among the techniques covered are the story arc and the beats of emotion through the story, expansion of sentences in the critical sections and the briefness necessary for the setup scenes.
Throughout the book, she includes quotes from her students, other writer friends, and published authors. The disadvantage of using her students is that we are left with a protagonist sitting in a wheelchair at the entrance to a hospital during a snow storm. The snow drifts up in the corners of the portico and under his feet. We never find out what happened and we don't know the author to track down the story. Adair, are you listening?
Speaking of her students, those who have taken her workshop and pushed their work in the real world have had success.Read more ›
This paragraph exemplifies the author's approach to "good" writing: never say things simply or directly, always gussy things up, find a "gimmick" or "twist" by which to "grab" the reader, trim the Christmas tree: the very things that define glib, mannered, and pretentious writing.
On the contrary: if a thing can be said simply and directly, so it should be said. Serious readers don't want gimmicks, and serious writers don't resort to them. Yes, they have distinct voices, but the distinctions are born of a dedication to precision, a sense of rhythm and timing, a horror of abstraction, cliché, and cant. Imagine someone telling Flaubert, "Hey, Gustave, gussy it up a bit, why don't you? You need an angle! Too direct, too direct!"
What's ironic in all this is that Adair Lara herself writes pretty well. The paragraph above wherein she urges conceits and contrivance upon her readers is itself void of such things. Yes, there are clever (if misguided) ideas supported with vivid analogies. But these are expressed by way of clear, simple, and direct sentences--not by gimmicks or twists. "You can't just come out and say what you have to say," Lara exhorts us. Yet that is what she herself does when writing well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a decent book on the writing craft. It has an easy to follow style and has inspired me to do more writing. Be prepared for wry comments about the title too. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Robert J. Plumer
Disappointed. The title would have you believe that it's a book about maybe letting go and write. It's not. Very general ideas about writing, many MANY quotes form other books. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Momma2-3
The best instructional book for the personal essay that I've ever read. Wish I'd found this sooner.Published 16 months ago by PVJ
Good book to help motivate, with plenty of tips and practical ideas to get writing projects in order. She's also a very humorous writer. Good stuff.Published 17 months ago by Coley
This book stands out among the many how-to-write-a-memoir books I have on my shelves. The tips are clear, concise and not at all condescending. Read morePublished 20 months ago by H. House
I highly recommend this book it is very insightful and an easy read. There were very clear guidelines that were easy to understand.Published 21 months ago by Aubrey