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Chance's Take on Books

I'm a novelist who loves to read and discuss all things word-bound.

Currently reading

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style
Virginia Tufte
The Chicago Manual of Style
John Grossman, Margaret D. Mahan
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
Steve Earle
Write Away : One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life - Elizabeth  George I find hope and encouragement in Elizabeth George's assertion that writing can be taught. For me, this means that writing is something I can learn, and can continue to improve as long as I put work into it. Elizabeth George's philosophy states that a writer will be published if they possess three qualities: talent, passion and discipline. I'm reminded, therefore, to focus on those qualities and nourish them.

I've followed a process similar to George's: conduct research, profile characters, and plot, all in advance. George says this the writer to focus on the art of writing. While I'm not likely to follow her step by step process, certain aspects of it appealed to me. I also loved that she included Bryce Courtenay's quote, "He who possesses bum glue wins."


George gave examples from her own work on how to create settings that feel real. She described how she conducts research and intertwines actual and fictional settings. Her settings provide more than a background for her characters; settings can become another character in the story.

I've enjoyed writing in the POV George calls “Shifting third person.” She writes a good summary of the pitfalls: 1) each different POV needs a subtle difference in voice and tone, 2) one must be careful about pace because too many narrators can slow the novel down.

Hooking the reader isn't enough. The writer must use suspense to maintain the reader's interest. To do this, the writer has to make the reader care and identify with something.