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Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story Paperback – September 1, 2015
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“There is no better spirit in all of American letters than that of Ursula Le Guin.” — Slate
“Le Guin is a writer of enormous intelligence and wit, a master storyteller with the humor and force of a Twain. She creates stories for everyone from New Yorker literati to the hardest audience, children. She remakes every genre she uses.” — Boston Globe
From the Back Cover
There is no better spirit in all of American letters than that of Ursula Le Guin. Slate
Le Guin is a writer of enormous intelligence and wit, a master storyteller with the humor and force of a Twain. She creates stories for everyone from New Yorker literati to the hardest audience, children. She remakes every genre she uses. Boston Globe
A modernized, new edition of an essential guide to the writing craft, presented by a brilliant practitioner of the art
Completely revised and rewritten to address the challenges and opportunities of the modern era, this handbook is a short, deceptively simple guide to the craft of writing. The ten chapters shed light on the most fundamental components of narrative, from the sound of language to sentence construction to point of view. Each chapter combines illustrative examples from the global canon with Ursula Le Guin s own witty commentary and an exercise that the writer can do solo or in a group. Le Guin also offers a comprehensive guide to working in writing groups, both actual and online.
Masterly and concise, Steering the Craft deserves a place on every writer s shelf.
Over the course of her career, Ursula K. Le Guin has published more than sixty books of fiction, fantasy, children s literature, poetry, drama, criticism, and translation. She is the winner of many awards, including the PEN/Malamud Award and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters."
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Top Customer Reviews
Note this is not a guide for beginners. It doesn't cover setting, plot or character, except indirectly. This book is for those who have some concept of those, have written at least some pieces, and now want to refine their expression of setting, plot and character.
So if you have been writing and want to see how a great writer approaches the task of putting the best possible words on the page, illustrated by great and pertinent examples, Le Guin's volume will be something that will help you from the start and that you can return to time and again.
This book slipped under the radar. It's a slim, 140 pages but packed with lessons on style and craft. Le Guin comes at it from a workshop perspective and also assumes her students are at least moderately knowledgeable about writing. This isn't a "How to write your novel in one Setting" or "The Genre Writer's guide to Writing Genre": This is a condensed elixir of art and experience and maybe is not for a general audience. But I seriously think it's a great secret weapon to have in your arsenal if you are serious about your writing.
With excerpts from authors as diverse as Rudyard Kipling and Patrick O’Neil, or Zora Neale Hurston and Jane Austen, with exercises that feed into and build on each other, and with a nicely nuanced approach to grammar and other tools of the trade, the author assists our writing, so our writing can assist other people’s reading, and so the whole will be something worth both reading and listening to.
Memorable one-liners stay in the mind long after reading. Authors are reminded to take responsibility for what they write—nothing happens “somehow” without the author’s intervention. Memorable asides make lessons long-learned finally make sense—did you know grammar and punctuation exist to assist sound? And each reader will surely have their favorite lesson and favorite point. For me, the reminder that story comes first, not conflict, is a lesson that will ease my conflicted writing of tales.
Highly recommended; enjoyably readable; and filled with the sort of exercises every writing group should take time to tackle; Steering the Craft is a must-add to any writer’s bookshelf.
Disclosure: My thanks to the friend who loaned it to me from her shelf.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
LeGuin is a writer of beautiful, thoughtful books for many years.Read more