mrwelchy's review against another edition

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informative reflective medium-paced

3.75

lowercase_em's review against another edition

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informative reflective

1.5

saranies's review against another edition

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4.0

A well written analysis of what makes good writing, with examples from greats in literature. I love reading and literature and this really reinforced that, while hopefully giving me more things to take note of as I read.

alisonlaw's review against another edition

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5.0

Even if you only read Chapter 11 on "Reading for Courage" this is an invaluable tool for any writer.

jenniferdeguzman's review against another edition

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3.0

This book was more of an explanation of how I already do read for me than something that taught me much new. Still, Francine Prose nicely breaks down the different elements of fiction that are important for the writer to pay attention to while reading -- all the way from word choice, to sentence and paragraph structure, to dialogue and details. Not much on plot, however, which is my weakness -- my skills for reading for plot could use some bolstering, and this wasn't the book for helping me with that.

It must have been a quick write for Prose, as most of it consists of passages from works of fiction. She'll have very long quotations, tell you to look for X in it, but not offer her own close reading. I guess it's nice that she wants the reader to do the work, but it also strikes me as a little thin on effort.

jamiejamie's review against another edition

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challenging hopeful informative medium-paced

5.0

One of my new favorite craft books - going on the shelf next to The Emotional Craft of Fiction. 

yourvalentine's review against another edition

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informative inspiring reflective medium-paced

3.25

pdxpiney's review against another edition

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informative inspiring medium-paced

4.0

Not a lit survey, and won’t tell you how to write. What writer wants that anyway, really? Prose pushes close reading and freedom from arbitrary rules. Many of the sources she draws on as examples I wouldn’t go near for pleasure, and that in itself was instructive: look what you can get out of this. Overall a bit dated, but again exercise your mind and learn from the book anyway. 

gracie_reads_everything's review against another edition

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5.0

Prose breaks down how best to examine literature and learn from its masters about the writing process. She points out that there are no clear “rules” that literature strictly adheres to, but rather tries best to guide the young writer by pointing out extensive examples of excellent prose and how it’s built down to its minuet elements: paragraph, sentence, and words. She emphasizes the importance of separating critical theory from the experience and appreciation of literature, in order to best be educated by its properties and methods.

FHer advice is both contemplative and helpful, allowing the reader to think critically about how to write while also allowing for examples to explicate how good prose is constructed. Her reverence for various types of literature and reliance on the masters is useful in allowing the reader to be educated by what they find to be brilliant prose as well as to emphasize the necessity of close reading in order to teach oneself to write. I appreciate the lack of limitations Prose places on what creates good writings, and how she gives both examples and counter examples that demonstrate the many diverse ways in which writing can be done well. An instructive guide to the young writer and a love letter to literature.

eitheror's review against another edition

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Thought this book would be an explainer on how to write or highlighting good prose. It's just excerpts of books the authors like, and they're all very dull. Didn't feel like I was learning anything