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A succinct, clear, and encouraging companion for aspiring writers.

Practical writing advice from an acclaimed storyteller.

Prolific writer Le Guin (The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth, 2012, etc.)—author of more than 60 books of fiction, poetry, drama, and translation and winner of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, among other awards—brings her experience as a writing workshop leader to this revision of her 1998 publication. In 10 chapters, the author considers basic writing topics, such as sound, rhythm, grammar, syntax, parts of speech (especially verbs, adverbs, and adjectives), and point of view. Each chapter contains examples from literature: an excerpt from Austen’s Mansfield Park demonstrates the author’s “vivid and versatile” syntax; a “glaringly bright scene” from Dickens’ Little Dorrit shows the power of a “single word…repeated like a hammer blow.” In addition, Le Guin has created short exercises “to clarify and intensify” awareness and hone technique. One exercise, “Am I Saramago,” (alluding to the Portuguese novelist who uses no punctuation), asks readers to write a 150-350–word narrative with no commas, periods, or paragraph breaks. A four-part exercise on point of view calls for writing a 200-350–word narrative and retelling it from the point of view of participants, a detached narrator, an observer-narrator, and an involved author. Le Guin guides readers in evaluating their work by themselves and in giving and responding to peer critiques. “While being critiqued,” she advises, “make notes of what people say about your story, even if the comments seem stupid. They may make sense later.” The book’s title emphasizes the author’s belief that writing is essentially a craft that can be learned, practiced, and improved through attention and self-discipline. “Forced to weigh your words,” she writes, “you find out which are the Styrofoam and which are the heavy gold.”

A succinct, clear, and encouraging companion for aspiring writers.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-61161-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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