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The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work [Paperback]

By Marie Arana (Editor)
Our Price $ 16.14  
Retail Value $ 18.99  
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Item Number 441226  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   404
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 7, 2003
Publisher   PublicAffairs
ISBN  1586481495  
EAN  9781586481490  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Compiles ten years of essays from 55 writers, including Ray Bradbury, Stanley Karnow, and John Edgar Wideman, discussing how they write and where their ideas come from.

Publishers Description
Featuring a gathering of more than fifty of contemporary literature's finest voices, this volume will enchant, move, and inspire readers with its tales of The Writing Life. In it, authors divulge professional secrets: how they first discovered they were writers, how they work, how they deal with the myriad frustrations and delights a writer's life affords. Culled from ten years of the distinguished Washington Post column of the same name, The Writing Life highlights an eclectic group of luminaries who have wildly varied stories to tell, but who share this singularly beguiling career. Here are their pleasures as well as their peeves; revelations of their deepest fears; dramas of triumphs and failures; insights into the demands and rewards.

Each piece is accompanied by a brief and vivid biography of the writer by Washington Post Book World editor Marie Arana who also provides an introduction to the collection. The result is a rare view from the inside: a close examination of writers' concerns about the creative process and the place of literature in America. For anyone interested in the making of fiction and nonfiction, here is a fascinating vantage on the writer's world--an indispensable guide to the craft.

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More About Marie Arana

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Marie Arana is the editor in chief of The Washington Post Book World. A former publishing executive, she is author of a highly acclaimed memoir, American Chica. She and her husband, Jonathan Yardley, live in Washington, D.C.

Marie Arana currently resides in Washington, in the state of District Of Columbia.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Average for the Genre.   Feb 11, 2007
I agree that one can find writing inspiration in these pages. Studying the mechanics and practices of other writers is always enjoyable and enlightening. Sometimes one can find tricks and short cuts to emulate which then enhance one's own work, and that is certainly the case with The Writing Life. The problem that I had with it is due to its selection bias. In my opinion, it chronicled far too many journalists as opposed to outstanding writers. Many of the individuals are not people one considers to be luminaries at all. I picked up The Paris Review's Interviews book which is more satisfying in this regard. Obviously though, this text isn't devoid of value, but it depends on what you wish to use it for.
Get the Story Behind the Writer  Sep 5, 2006
This is an excellent compilation of writers and a bit of their story. I know that other reviewer's recommended this book for writers, but Ido not consider myself a writer in professional terms, and I still found it facinating.

Arana provides a backhistory of each writer introducing them, and then each author tells some aspect of how they handle the writing life. I enjoy being able to get "behind the scenes" and understand how a writer approaches their day...where they write, do they use a computer, etc. As she says in her introduction, she invited "seasoned writers to mull the craft" of their writing.
More Than Meets the Eye  Oct 13, 2005
I love reading other authors' takes on "the writing life" and how they cope with or find inspiration from daily life to continue nurturing their creativity, motivation, and changing goals. This book surprised me with an extremely varied mix of writing advice and insight.

From dealing with publishers and the importance of self-marketing to dealing with the slack you get for your chosen genre not being as academically accepted or how to maintain a personal life along with your career...the authors in this collection cover it all. There's enough here to touch on any aspect of writing you may be dealing with or thinking about and will, no doubt, include many surprises you haven't realized you do need more information about.

Reading the collection introduced me to new authors, some with writing styles I fell in love with and intend to read more from, and made me think about so many aspects of the art of writing that I've since realized keys for improving my own novel and new directions I want to go in in my own career.

This is the perfect gift for any writer you know...even if you have no idea what their own writing style or interests are. You'll make a better writer of them.
Great Anthology of Writers...  Sep 4, 2005
Over the years, I've read 'The Writing Life' segment found in many a Washington Post "Book World" section. Last spring, a writing instructor assigned Arana's collection of these articles for our outside class reading. I was pleased to find many of the articles I had previously enjoyed plus plenty I had not read combined in one volume, thus allowing me to purge the accordian file folder where I store such items.

Arana has selected some of the best pieces for her volume, and prefaced each with a short introduction of the author. In some cases I reread segments by favorite authors, and in other cases I had never read the author.

One author I've been meaning to try is Barbara Mertz. Haven't heard of her? She writes under the pen name Elizabeth Peters, and is the author of the the tales of the exploits of Amelia Peabody-Emerson, archeologist and sleuth. Now, I had thought about reading Peters, but had not done so because I have been trying to curb a hopeless addiction to mysteries and force myself to read things that "improved my mind." Peters, i.e. Mertz, says at age 60, she figures her mind "is about as good as it's going to get" and that statement and others she wrote made me laugh. Being from a long line of folks suffering from a bad case of the "Protestant ethic" I've always needed permission to have fun, and now that I am 63 I have it.

I read my first Peters novel (reviewed elsewhere) and ordered 6-7 more. Is this frivoluous, you bet. Will I keep it up, Hopefully!!
Elegant, Exquisite, Eclectic  Sep 27, 2004
Arana bundles a life tapestry of professional experience, formal education, and school of hard knocks, in a motif of a writer's existence. This work is much more than just a mere compilation of WP Book World excerpts. Clearly, significant thought was devoted to the selection of her WP articles along with fundamentally pragmatic insights that are certain to be invaluable to anyone interested in the profession of writing or editing.

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