The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House

The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House


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The Writer's Notebook offers aspiring authors the most enlightening and engaging seminars and essays from some of Tin House's favorite writers. Jim Shepard, Aimee Bender, Steve Almond, Antonya Nelson and others break down specific elements of craft and share insights into the joys and pains of their own writing.

The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House combines the best craft seminars in the history of the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop with a variety of essays written by some of Tin House's favorite authors, offering aspiring writers insight into the craft of writing. Dorothy Allison, Jim Shepard, Aimee Bender, Steve Almond, D. A. Powell, and others break down elements of craft and share insights into the joys and pains of their own writing. This cast of deeply respected poets and prose writers explore topics that vary from writing dialogue to the dos and don'ts of writing about sex. With how-tos, close readings, and personal anecdotes,The Writer's Notebook offers future scribes advice and inspiration.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780979419812
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication date: 05/12/2009
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 803,158
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dorothy Allison, Steve Almond, Aimee Bender, Pinckney Benedict, David Benioff, Amy Bloom, Robert Olen Butler, Deborah Eisenberg, Ryan Harty, Howard Hunt, Frances Hwang, Denis Johnson, Marshall N. Klimasewiski, Ellen Litman, Howard Luxenberg, Martha McPhee, Steven Millhauser, Lucia Nevai, Mark Jude Poirier, Natasha Radojcic, Stacey Richter, James Salter, Jim Shepard, Anthony Swofford, Julia Slavin, Elizabeth Tallent, Amanda Eyre Ward, Jung H. Yun

Shepard is the author of seven novels, including most recentlyThe Book of Aron, five story collections, includingLike You’d Understand,
Anyway—a finalist for the National Book Award and won The Story Prize—and editor of the anthology Writers at the
Movies. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with his wife, three children, and three beagles. He teaches at Williams College.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Much more entertaining is The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays From Tin House, which is a pretty fair summary of where actual writing instruction is at these days. Most of the essays originated in writing workshops run by the literary magazine Tin House, and they include advice on sex writing by Steve Almond, on what you can learn from Shakespeare by Margot Livesey, and on revision by Chris Offutt, who compares the process to 'draining the kitchen sink and seeing what’s in there, which is usually a mess.'"—Charles McGrath, The New York Times

"We get all manner of books on writing around here and they tend to blend together but the offerings from Tin House always stand out. They've just published The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House, which includes terrifically useful essays from the likes of Dorothy Allison, Rick Bass, Aimee Bender, Jim Krusoe, Antonya Nelson and Jim Shepard." —The Elegant Variation

"Tin House is an outstanding literary journal that publishes some of today's finest contemporary writing...delightful...beautifully written...thoughtful...outstanding..."—Chuck Leddy, The Writer Magazine

"The essays within The Writer's Notebook each offer a fresh perspective on various aspects of the writing craft...features an eclectic list of top shelf contributions each bound together by a pragmatic approach to teaching the craft of writing... If you can't actually attend the workshops, this is probably your next best bet." —Mark Flanagan,

"Brilliant stuff, and not at all the hackneyed tired advice you find in so many writing books." —

"What’s fabulous is we know of these writers, and here we get to know them better through their lectures and essays. With them, we explore the love/hate relationship a writer has with the mind, the words, the pen, and the reader."—Helen Gallagher,

"These essays can be read for the illumination into the craft of writing, whether you are a reader or a writer." —Mary Jo Anderson, The Chronicle Herald

"As importantly, almost any subject is good reading in the hands of a talented writer. And believe me...these are fine writers." —Robert Birnbaum, The Morning News

"There is enough variety that you are sure to find several kindred souls. The Tin House editors do a great job of gathering an eccentric mix of talented writers and essay subjects."
—Lincoln Michel, The Faster Times

"The essays are a fascinating look at the writing process by an eclectic group of writers...covering enough ground to offer something of interest to anyone fascinates by the process of writing...I found the discussions both illuminating and inspiring and I recommend the book to anyone interested in writing."—

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The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
bezoar44 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great writing, as a number of authors in this collection say, is hard to explain analytically. So, the essays in this book split into two camps. Some -- I found them the most useful - take a fairly humble, craft-focused approach, and talk about elements that can be put into words: the importance of revision (Susan Bell, Chris Offut); uses of time (Tom Grimes); lessons from Shakespeare (Margot Livesey). Others seem to be trying to replicate the impact of a zen koan: the authors tell tangential or shocking stories, ultimately telling the audience to follow their instincts and be prepared to disregard all rules to produce good art. It's hard to know whether this is because the authors aren't actually great writers -- they're all published, but I'm not familiar with most of their work -- or whether they are quite talented, but just not able to articulate how their talent works. Either way, it makes for an uneven collection, but it's hard to see how an anthology of advice on how to write well could be any other way.
DonnaMom1 More than 1 year ago
I had great hopes for this book, but like many books on writing, I found a lack of tangibles. It is hard to write about writing like you would write about airplanes or World War II or any other topic you can outline and list. Writing is too personal. I was offended by the chapter on writing about sex; I agree with the author that you don't need to describe the fundamentals. However, I didn't feel the shock value of his soft porn description necessary. The books is essentially a set of essays about how different writers write. If that is what you expect and want, you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for nitty gritty advice on point of view, character development, etc., you need to look elsewhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago