By Jan BowmanPat Schneider’s Writing Alone and With Others, is a fourth entry in a series about craft books that I have reread recently and found useful. And while many wonderful books on the writer’s craft are available, sometimes when the flame of inspiration flickers, it helps to read practical books on craft. In recent blog entries I have given my impressions about four books that offer ideas that have helped me improve my writing. Perhaps these will be useful to you.
Schneider’s craft book is divided into three sections.
— Part 1 – The Writer Alone - explores a range of topics essential to the individual writer, whether facing fear, finding your voice, or practicing your craft and working toward a disciplined writing life. A final topic in this section examines ethical questions writers face, whether they are concerned about spirituality, privacy and the politics of what they write.
— Part 2 – Writing with Others – guides writers through the process of working in workshops or in small writing group settings to promote healthy growth experiences. The last topic includes an insightful discussion of ways to empower the silenced, so that writers who find the process of working with others intimidating, feel empowered to grow and risk in a place of safety.
— Part 3 – Additional Exercises – offers more than 60 pages of writing exercises and story starters designed to address specific problems writers face in writing and revising. This section alone is worth the price of the book.
Craft books can help writers grow. Truman Capote said, “Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade, just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.”
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