amydavid's review

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5.0

I don’t write or workshop anymore, but this still gave me a lot to think on and I hope all my friends who DO still workshop (especially folks leading workshops) pick this one up.

tashabanana's review

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5.0

I'd give this 10/5 if I could. This book is an absolutely vital, must-read for anyone who writes words, reads words, or teaches words. Salesses names so many of the problems and frustrations BIPOC, Queer, differently-abled, and "othered" writers feel in traditional workshop settings and then outlines clear, actionable, and mindblowingly reasonable ways to fix them. If there's a paradigm shift on the horizon with respect to how we critique and understand literature (and I think there is), then this book reads like its manual and manifesto. Will definitely be revisiting this constantly.

suzbian's review

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challenging informative inspiring reflective slow-paced

3.75

Thought provoking and interesting!

nickyp's review

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5.0

Much to think about. I will need to come back to it in a few months to dose myself again.

orangerose33's review

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5.0

Such a fantastic craft book with really complex themes and great research. I will be coming back to it again and again.

lari19's review

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5.0

Completely transformed the way I think of craft and editing, and validated so many of my experiences in writing workshops.

ihnmaims's review

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It wasn't the right time for me to be reading a craft book through – I used the exercises as reference and may come back to it one day.

jengennari's review

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5.0

As many have noted, this book is astounding and ground-breaking. It will change the way I teach writing. The writing workshop, Salesses argues, should provide the writer with tools to use after the class is over. Writing is a process of revision. Knowing the author's intention (rather than silencing her) is critical to growth. Some gems:

"The argument that one should know the rules before breaking them is really an argument about who gets to make the rules, whose rules get to be the norms."

"Believability is usually leveled against events and characteristics that most of the workshop has not experienced or has the privilege to ignore."

"To silence the author is to willingly misinterpret the author. It is to insist that she must write to the workshop." And, for MFA programs, "The real danger is not a single style, it's a single audience."

margaret_adams's review

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One of the best craft books I’ve read, and maybe the first one that I’ve wanted to recommend to non-writers as well as writers.

vigil's review

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4.75

i feel like informative is a rather lacking as a term to refer to this as but, i don’t know a better one. so yes,  this was informative.

legitimately, it had me thinking about writing in ways that, even i as a person of color, have never really had the mind to consider before. this book really does read as a miniature course in fiction writing, which tends to make it quite dense in information,  though i found  he does take care to make sure it is still easily readable. (whatever that means.)

i checked this out from my library, and i will be purchasing this for myself in the future, because this is a book that you could (and absolutely should) read time and time again because it offers up new insights and understandings every time.

i especially enjoyed the examples of alternative crafts from african and asian writings. i’d say a pitfall of this book is that these are largely the only examples of diverse fiction, but the author did say at the beginning that it was in no way intended to be comprehensive, and it seems like he went with works that were familiar to him. the author mentioned his intention with this book was to bring about the start of a conversation and in my opinion he succeeded in that. 

i will admit that I did not read this book cover to cover as there is a section dedicated to workshops, which is not currently applicable in my life, so those pages were mostly skimmed. however did appreciate the questionnaire (or rather, guide) in the section “Syllabus Example” about how you should be looking at your work and others. if you are a writer yourself, i highly recommend reading through the appendix section for the writing exercises, and at least skim through the workshop portion regardless of whether or not you are currently or planning to attend one.