- 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,609 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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Top Customer Reviews
If you ever need to be inspired in your writing, read this book. He will draw the passion of writing out of you, remind you why we do what we do, and slowly build you a blueprint on how to do it daily. I highly commend this book for any writer and any level.
All eleven essays were previously published, over the 30 years prior to the collection's original 1994 publication. There is a little bit of repetition in the stories because of that, but not enough to be annoying.
The essays are, for the most part, rah-rah, get your imagination out cheerleading. Bradbury writes in direct sentences, with lots of energy and plenty of exclamation points. An important lesson is to take your experiences, especially your fears, and use them in your creations. He gives many examples of how this worked in his own writing. I found the most interesting tip in the final essay (the last chapter is poetry): "Remember: PLOT is no more than footprints left in the snow AFTER your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. PLOT is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action. It is the chart that remains when a action is through."
I think plot and action and characters are more of a balancing act, but I understand what he's saying and it's something to keep in mind. I have to admit, though, that I thought "The Martian Chronicles" could have used a lot more PLOT.
Overall, I liked Stephen King's On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft a bit better, but the first part of King's book is a biography which, though interesting, isn't about writing. For me, "Zen in the Art of Writing" is 3.6 stars rounded up to 4.
This book will be an inspiration to any fan of Bradbury's work, and is highly recommended for any writer wishing to improve upon their craft.
All that being said, why on Earth would I give this 4/5 stars? Because if you're looking for a guide on writing, this is really not it. View this book as a a TED talk, and it's totally worth 5 stars. If you're looking for advice on how to polish your writing, you may want to consider something else. In a nutshell, I'm not sure this book is as universally relatable as a more basic style guide is but it's an excellent addition to your bookshelf -- especially if you need an inspirational boost.