- 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: 240 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,297 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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I purchased the book without reading the advertising blurb, seeking to learn secrets from one of my favorite authors. Alas, one of the most prolific and descriptive writers is extremely mundane in his advice to aspiring writers. In short, WORK, RELAXATION, DON’T THINK (caps are Mr. Bradbury’s). Obviously, work is the operative word here, and if you haven’t already been writing on a regular basis, he suggests one to two thousand words a day, every day, for the next twenty years. Have an initial goal of one short story a week, fifty-two a year. What does Mr. Bradbury believe this will bring about? “…I believe that eventually quantity will make for quality.”
So if the book is not a teaching manual, why should one purchase it?
Fans of Ray Bradbury will enjoy the intuitive methods he used to create his stories and books. It was interesting to see how everyday events could produce a spark that he would turn into something wonderful. Writers reading between the lines will learn that each writer must discover his own road to creativity. Mr. Bradbury can point in the right direction, but it is each prospective author’s duty to forge his or her own way.
Along the way, the author shares with us his experiences as he worked his way into becoming a writer as well as the people who helped and shared and celebrated those success with him. Very enjoyable read. Five stars.
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.
This is, strangely enough, my first Ray Bradbury book. As was the case with King's book however, it didn't detract from the experience. You can sense from this book Bradbury's passion behind his writing, just as you could King's. This is a man who has spent his lifetime writing because it's what he loves to do. So naturally he has written a book about that writing. I have a feeling that, just like King, this little book will propel me forward into Bradbury's writing and that I have some wonderful future-experiences ahead of me.
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.