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Becoming a Writer Paperback – Mar 1 1981

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (March 1 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874771641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874771640
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Even in 1934, Dorothea Brande knew that most writers didn't need another book on "technique" -- and this, before so many more would be published. No, she realized, as John Gardner notes in his foreword, "the root problems of the writer are personality problems," and thus her wise book is designed to simply help you get over yourself and start writing, with techniques ranging from a simple declaration to write every day at a fixed time -- no matter what -- to exercises that come close to inventing the TM and self-actualization movements that would follow a few decades later.

About the Author

John Gardner is Professor of English at Southern Illinois University. His previous books include a modernized English version of "The Complete Works of the Gawain-Poet "and a recently published novel, "The Wreckage of Agathon."

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A few of the reviews here are just sub mental. But anyway...
MAYBE: You're enrolled in a creative writing course, and the teacher says "Write a five page story for next week about the wind." You go home, look at that blank white page, say "The wind?!?", and freeze up.
OR: You want desperately to write a screenplay, you can sort of intuitively feel the final movie-going experience in your mind - the high passion, the breathless action, the laughter, the tears - but no sooner do you type "FADE IN", than it all goes blank.
OR: The boss wants a report a month from now, but you know you can only write when you have a deadline looming, so you wait until the last minute and hope that stress and coffee can succeed where self-discipline failed.
You need Becoming A Writer, the best book on the writer's creative process I've ever read. It should be the foundational book in your library, and the first thing you read starting out in the writing game. Gather up all your other books on technique and structure and character and prose - and I know you've got some, don't lie - put 'em up on the shelf for a while, and read this one first.
Her technique consists of two writing sessions a day.
Now, I know what you're saying: "Twice a day! I haven't got time for twice a month!" Take it easy. Two BRIEF sessions a day, even as little as fifteen minutes each. You can find the time. You write once in the morning - pre-coffee - to let your creative subconscious take flight unhindered. Then you write again later, at a specified time, to learn discipline.
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Format: Paperback
Becoming a Writer is unlike any other writing book on the market today. As Brande says in the introduction, even then, back in 1934, there were several books on writing, and most of them are about the basic riles of storytelling, organisational problems, and so on. This book is different. You will find nothing about plot, dialogue, structure, beginnings, endings here. Nothing about the actual nuts and bolts of writing.
Brande is trying to reach the writer who is not yet sure he/she is a writer. The shy, insecure artist who believes that somehow there is a magic to writing, a magic that other, successful writers have and which has somehow eluded him. And who desperately longs to find a key to that magic.
This book provides that key.
Brande goes on to talk about the artistic temperament, and th eneed to cultivate spontaneity, and innocence of eye, as well as the ability to respond freshly and quickly to new scenes, and to old scenes as though they were new, and to see "traits and characteristics as though each were new-minted from the hand of God".
Stories, Brande says, are formed in the unconscious mind, which must flow freely and richly, bringing at demand all the" treasures of memory, all the emotions, scenes, incidents, intimations of character and relationship" which is stored away beyond our awareness.
This book is about tapping that rich store in the unconscious mind.
These days there are all kinds of workshops and books about creativity, tapping the unconscious, using meditation to reach the inner artist, and so on.
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Format: Paperback
Becoming a Writer is a reprint from a book originally published in 1934. However, I have found the advice to be timeless and in keeping with that given by modern writers such as Stephen King and Natalie Goldberg. Dorothea Brande writes in clear, concise terms what is needed to become a writer, and like the others, she advises that hard work is what will in the end, be a necessary ingredient. Especially if we are to be conscious competents.
I found the chapters on reading as a writer most helpful as I do so much reading and therefore wish to learn as much as I can while doing so. And I was most amazed at the insight that Ms. Brande had with respect to how the mind works. She seems to be well ahead of her times, and I'm not so sure that many would find fault with her take on how genius or "empty mind" is to be encouraged and enhanced.
In short, this book is well worth the read and should be on any aspiring writer's shelf. I give it a three out of five rating (and then only because there are more current volumes that provide this information). I am pleased to have spent the time reading this book.
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Format: Paperback
This little gem was originally published in 1934, a fact that is absolutely amazing when you consider its content. It's about using the creative side of the brain to write, which is a concept only recently verified and documented by psychologists. Today they call it "using the right side of the brain." Gabrielle Rico (WRITING THE NATURAL WAY) wrote the first modern books for writers on the subject 30 years after Brande wrote hers.
Ms. Brande, writing in 1934, speaks of "the two sides of the writer." One side is the author, with the child's innocence of eye, spontaneous, sensitive, able to respond freshly and quickly to new scenes. The other side is the artisan, adult, discriminating, temperate and just. Right brain, left brain.
Brande advocates separating the two and gives a series of exercises designed to train the author side to respond willingly. By careful self-training the writer/reader will harness the unconscious and harvest its benefits.
Try the exercises -- they work.
If you're interested in writing or just in how creative processes work, you'll find this an amazing and useful book.
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