Sunday, August 01, 2010

Thanks But This Isn't For Us

Happy weekend! My apologies to all -- I have been remiss in answering emails and comments this week because of a lot of nuttiness and in an attempt to finish the rewrite of How To Own And Operate A Haunted House. Yes, I feel as if I'm living in the haunted house, but that's okay. That's what a novel does. I've been talking a lot about plot this year, something I didn't understand forever. In graduate school, we focused on poetry and short stories. It's not anything like writing something longer, not at all. Raymond Carver once said that writing short stories and poems have far more in common with each other than novels. I believe this to be absolutely true.

So I wanted to alert those out there who may be struggling as I struggled to a resource I found absolutely invaluable. Thanks But This Isn't For Us by Jessica Page Morrell. I love books about writing, but for years, steered clear of practical advice in very specific terms. I talked a lot about rejection as a teacher (having been at the end of it many a time) and was good at the whole a winner never quits and a quitter never wins rhetoric, but seldom addressing what wasn't working in my own writing. Having beaten my head a few too many times against walls, proverbial and real, I decided to take a chance on this book which is written by an agent who tells you why you are suffering the close but not quite syndrome or the no way in hell response. I graduated from the second category to the first by my own will, but the close but not quite is difficult in that I want to drink Drano kind of way. I highly recommend this book to all writers. Some reviewers on Amazon disliked her bossy tone. Hell, I ate it up! Tell me what to do, Jessica! Like Woody Allen said about psychotherapy after fifteen years, I'm giving it one more year, then I'm going to Lourdes. I needed a little tough love. This book provides it. Get thee to a bookstore and read it. Right now, I'm reading Is Life Like This? by John Dufresne and loving it as well. Will provide review as soon as I'm finished. Do you guys have any especially helpful writing book suggestions?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The characters you create in your novel become as real in your mind as movie stars." Norman Mailer

Cocktail Hour
Tonight -- Mad Men, Hung -- life is sweet!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!


Lana Gramlich said...

Unfortunately no. I have no suggestions for books on writing. Best of luck, though. I'm glad you enjoyed that one so much!

the walking man said...

No I won't buy this one either but I will borrow yours. hahahahahahahahaha

G said...

I have a general purpose one that I keep next to my computer. It's called "Self-editing for Fiction Writers" by Renni Browne and Dave King.

Came highly recommended to me via another writer about a year or so ago.

Charles Gramlich said...

You probably already know these. William Zinsser's "On Writing Well" and Lawrence Bloch's "Telling Lies for Fun and profit."

jodi said...

Michelle, I have no suggestions as I just tell my little tales...xoxo