Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write About Anything by Prof. Dorsey Armstrong

Filed under:Art,Writing — posted by Randolph on August 25, 2017 @ 3:20 pm


Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write About Anything by  Prof. Dorsey Armstrong

This lecture series provides a guide for writing critiques. It is one of the Great Courses lectures series presented by Prof. Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University.

The lectures focus primarily on organizing your thoughts and getting them on paper in a well-structured and readable form. She also encourages reading in as broad a spectrum as you can manage. Then a lesser emphasis on analysis, which, for me, felt like it came more from making your own thoughts clear and concise, then getting them in written form.

She speaks clearly and is well-organized. This makes it easy for her to get her points across. Her thoughts are reflected in the accompanying booklet. Although I felt it was too close, as it is often verbatim. Having read the book first, I felt like large portions of the lecture were redundant.

The material does a good job of covering the subject, and it felt adequately in-depth. In 24 lectures, each just shy of a half-hour, she covers a lot of ground. Although most of the lectures either discuss the subject matter abstractly, she does draw good examples from several works including fiction, poetry, drama and non-fiction. One lecture is devoted to grammar, which I felt was more of a sore point for her and, for me, felt like it should have been outside the scope of this lecture series.

I felt the lectures were good and well worth the time. I listed to several of them multiple times.

How to Write a Short Story by John Vorwald and Ethan Wolff

Filed under:Writing — posted by Randolph on October 5, 2016 @ 10:48 am

How to Write a Short Story by John Vorwald and Ethan Wolff

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it has good information and is presented well. It is easy to read and has good examples from common short stories.

On the other hand, I don’t feel it delivers what it promises, guidance for writing a short story. Almost all of the book discusses material that is generic to fiction writing. Little focuses on the short story, it often felt like an afterthought.

I would have liked, and expected the book to assume a moderate knowledge of writing and to focus on the distinctions unique to writing a short story.

Overall, it is a very good writing reference, but not a good one for short stories.

The Constant Art of Being a Writer: The Life, Art and Business of Fiction by N. M. Kelby

Filed under:Art,Writing — posted by Randolph on February 9, 2016 @ 11:09 am

The Constant Art of Being a Writer: The Life, Art and Business of Fiction by N. M. Kelby

The author, N. M. Kelby, has experience both as a publisher and an author, she is providing her insights and experience to the novice author. This book give the reader a solid foundation of, what I presume are, all the steps toward publishing and selling a book.

The book starts with developing discipline, good writing habits and finding support. It continues through writing, editing, finding an agent, finding a publisher or self-publishing, selling, touring, and even estate planning. If you haven’t actually published a book, this will help you work through steps you haven’t even considered.

The book is an easy read and well-organized. It takes you though the steps pretty much in order of how you will encounter them with lots of advice and tips on the way. She provides lots of URLs for online support, both in writing and editing groups, to authors’ anecdotes of bad experiences.

Even for the non-author, it is interesting and will give you a real appreciation for what these guys go through.

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

Filed under:Series,Write Great Fiction,Writing — posted by Randolph on July 26, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

This book is aimed at writers, although I found it helpful for recognizing techniques and style in writing as well. Its focus is on characterization, developing characters, their actions and emotions, expressing feelings, and making it consistent. It looks at different genres and how characters can fit in, and it explores characterization and different narrator viewpoints.

Through it all, Nancy includes good examples and has exercises at the end of each chapter to help the reader explore what she has been explaining.

The book works very well for writers and writer want-to-bes, but readers will find a lot of value as well.



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace