Goldberg - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

Writing Down the Bones
Nataile Goldberg
Shambhala
Nonfiction, Writing
***+

DESCRIPTION: How do writers write? By writing, of course, but anyone who's tried knows there's a bit more to it than that... mostly overcoming the inner, illogical voice that insists you can't write because you're not a writer. The author offers advice for facing down this obstacle and several others that stand between you and the stories you want to, or need to, write.

REVIEW: This isn't a how-to book on getting work published, but more about writing for writing's sake, regardless of market value or demographics. Much of her advice seems geared more toward poetry or short slice-of-life tales, more in the literary vein than the sorts of stories I gravitate to, but the basics can be applied to most any genre. It's mostly about breaking down self-imposed barriers and developing both the freedom and the discipline to keep putting down words. I clipped it because, at some point, her chapters and advice started running together into an eye-glazingly repetitious blur. I can't say exactly why or when this happened, but somewhere past the halfway point I realized it was taking more effort to hit every sentence on a given page. Perhaps a bit more on the practical aspects of writing and attempting publishing or exposure of one's work could've broken it up a little. In any event, this book is recommended in almost every other how-to-write book I've ever read, and now that I've read it I, too, can say that most would-be (or already-are) writers could stand to learn a thing or two about Goldberg's methods.

You might also enjoy:
No Plot? No Problem! (Chris Baty, Writing - A no-excuses guide to writing a novel draft in 30 days or fewer)
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them) (Jack M. Bickham, Writing - How writing goes wrong, and what to do about)
The Seven Moments In Storytelling That Really Matter (Christian Blake, Writing - Recurring elements in successful stories)
Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life (Terry Brooks, Writing - Anecdotes and practical advice for writers)
How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy) (Julia Cameron, Art - Common obstacles we place to our own creativity)
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (Orson Scott Card, Writing - Advice on writing sci-fi and fantasy stories, from idea generation to publication and beyond)
Who's... (oops!) Whose Grammar Book is This, Anyway? (C. Edward Good, Grammar - Because you can't write clearly if you don't know something about it)
Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Crawford Kilian, Writing - How to write sci-fi/fantasy stories that sell)
Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott, Writing - Anecdotes and advice on writing)
Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly (Gail Carson Levine, YA Writing - Great advice and inspiration for writers of all ages)
Words to Write By (Elaine L. Orr, Writing - How to organize thoughts and begin writing)
How I Wrote My First Book: The Story Behind the Story (Lida E. Quillen and Anne K. Edwards, editors, Writing - Essays by writers on their first works)
The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing (Michelle Spring and Laurie R. King, Writing - How to write a crime story)
A Whack on the Side of the Head (Roger Van Oech, Creativity - Helpful ways to break old thought patterns)
Wonderbook (Jeff Vandermeer, Nonfiction - An imaginative, illustrated guide to writing)
Where Do You Get Your Ideas? (Fred White, Writing - How to generate ideas and develop them into stories)

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