Digital List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $7.99

Save $9.01 (53%)

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft by [Goldberg, Natalie]
Kindle App Ad

Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"

click to open popover

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Editorial Reviews Review

More musings from Natalie Goldberg on writing as a spiritual path, as "an authentic Zen way." Goldberg has some nice things to say about the importance of the process of writing. She recommends her students spend two years at writing "practice" before undertaking a specific project, so that they can "get in touch with their wild minds." The most inspired writing, she says, comes when one's conscious mind gets out of the way. Still, we are puzzled by Thunder and Lightning: is it really meant to show us how to turn "our flashes of inspiration ... into a polished piece of work," as the book jacket touts? It comes off more as a collection of Goldberg's ruminations on writing and reading. Goldberg tells us about her friend Julie's writing process. Another pal, Kate, talks about plot. We study Styron with Goldberg's workshop students and take a road trip through the South to try to figure out just how some of the poorest states in the union managed to produce so many great writers. There are some good stories here, and it's vaguely interesting to know what Nat likes to order when she does her café writing or lunches with her editors, but we end up desiring a little less wandering and a little more focus. --Jane Steinberg

From Publishers Weekly

Goldberg here urges aspiring writers to go beyond the Zen-inspired writing practice she presented in her 1986 bestseller Writing Down the Bones and the subsequent Wild Mind. Writing practice was a means Goldberg devised of observing the mind by moving the hand, writing through our endless judgments and opinions until the unstoppable stream of thought becomes transparent and we can see clear through the mind to the vibrant life force that shines up from the bottom. In this guide, Goldberg seeks to help students find the organic formsAthe resonant questions and questsAthat exist deep down within us. She doesn't teach technique so much as affirm that the life force carves a particular channel in each of us. The title came to Goldberg several years ago in Costa Rica, as she stood at the foot of an active volcano and experienced the sudden power of a tropical storm: "I thought, some divine structure has just whipped through here." Goldberg describes her various book projects as inspirations that crash down like lightning, absorbing her and vanishing. As she delves into her own process and the process of other writers, however, it becomes clear that the work of discovering form can be as long and painstaking as an archeological dig, and as painful as surgery. Great book and story ideas do tend to come in flashes, she confirms. But they come to those who have gotten by the barking dogs of the conventional mind only to face the raw truth about what is. Goldberg writes as someone who has been there and back. She guides readers without handing out any illusions about how easy the trip is. BOMC, QPB, One Spirit Book Club and Reader's Subscription alternates.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3366 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (July 26, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 26, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005E835DC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,194 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price?

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Lacher on August 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It took me a bit to connect with this book because the tone and style are so different from Natalie's previous books. I also found I had to read this a little bit at a time to give myself time to absorb what she was trying to say. But I was really shaken up by the book. After writing a terrible, terrible truly horrible and horribly boring novel myself, I had given up writing (after 35 years). In other words, I was in a similar place as Natalie was in the closing chapter of this book. How she dealt with that and what she relates about that are extraordinary and absolutely inspirational. It got me to pick up a pen again.
Natalie has always had a Zen slant to her writing and it is even more evident here. The connection between the disciplines of writing practice and meditation really struck home with me. Especially as it addresses the ultimate point of writing. While this book does deal with issues of structure (and I disagree strongly that this book is just for prose writers), it addresses more the spiritual and personal nature of writing. Why write? it dares us to ask. Why write at all? As usual, Natalie is challenging our basic beliefs of ourselves and particulary ourselves as writers. Why do *you* write? This book will inspire you to seek the answer to that fearsome question for yourself.
I am indebted to Natalie for constantly opening herself up to an unknown and naturally critical audience. She does sound older and wiser here and that gives me pause too. It goes back to the fundemental question -- why write? This is not a writing instruction book per se, you can visit her previous books for help in that area. This book is something beyond that. Something almost intangible. I was deeply moved by the book and tremendously inspired. Thank you Natalie for giving so fully yet once again.
Comment 65 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
While this book is essentially a memoir of Natalie's life as a writer, there are tangible, useful clues plus decent and practical advice about how to move your writing to a higher level. True fans should appreciate this book as it represents a deep meditation of a honest and hardworking writer's mind.
Like her earlier books on writing, this one again delivers in a series of essays, divided into three distinct sections. Considering the wide territory she attempts to cover, the chapters end up forming a more cohesive story than before.
Believe it or not, Natalie is on to something here. To find the roadmap that is the promise of this book, you have to read carefully and not skim the pages looking for them. I recommend highlighting or bookmarking these passages so you can go back to them. Just "Like Writing Down the Bones" and "Wild Mind," the ultimate lesson here is to take her advice and carve your own path.
What I liked best about "Thunder & Lightning" is how Natalie walks us through her journey as a writer. Like me, she started with no idea on how to write and made many attempts that lead nowhere. Although she occasionally covers old territory, there's a terrific and inspiring lesson here about what it takes to be a writer.
Natalie also reveals her internal dialogue in dealing with her editors and bravely shows us the editorial revisions to original sentences from her various manuscripts. This should give anyone struggling with the writing process some measure of hope and consolation.
I was a bit stymied when she advises *two* full years of regular writing practice to break through instead of the year she suggests in her second book. I wished she had explained why she's upped the ante.
Comment 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I hear a lot of negative things about this book; mostly that it's not as good as her first two on writing. But I think it's just as strong--it just needs to be read from a certain perspective. Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind are wonderful books, especially for the beginning writer, who needs lots of exercises to get started. But I think it's equally wonderful to read Thunder & Lightning and see how Natalie Goldberg's thoughts on writing are changing as she grows as a writer. I read this book when it first came out, and I didn't really understand what she was trying to say. Recently I read it again and I understood perfectly her thoughts on writing within a structure and persevering despite the fears that writers come up against over and over, even after years of good writing. Don't be too quick to dismiss this book.
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on August 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Natalie Goldberg fans will be very happy with this book! In true Natalie style, the book unfolds as part memoir, part writing manual, and part essay on writing. Natalie could've chosen to simply write in "textbook style". However, this book is better than that. She gives sage advice on what to do once you feel comfortable with writing practice. And she tells you where she is on the path to writing.
One thing I really love about the style of this book is that she doesn't simply lay the lessons out like you are back in grammar school learning everything by rote memorization. Instead, she takes you on the journey of how she learned each of the lessons herself -- which I think makes them more personal and more meaningful. She interviews her writer friends to learn how they find structure in their books as well as their methods of working. And you follow along as she struggles to understand plot.
It is a fascinating glimpse into the world of writing -- both the successes and failures. This is a book to come back to again and again. It's packed with rich insight and practical exercises. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves Natalie Goldberg!
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft