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Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer's Life

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Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer's Life Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This marvelous guide begins where other books on writing and the writing life leave off. Delving deep into the creative process, Bret Lott reveals truths we scarcely realized we needed to know but without which we as writers will soon lose our way. In ten intimate essays based on his own experiences and on the seasoned wisdom of writers including Eudora Welty, E. B. White, Henry David Thoreau, Henry James, and John Gardner, Lott explores such topics as
  • why write? why keep writing?
  • the importance of simple words
  • the finer points of character detail
  • narrative and the passage of time
  • the pitfalls of technique
  • making a plan — and letting it go
  • risking failure?and reaping the benefits
  • Accepting rejection
Writers travel alone, but Bret Lott?s book makes the journey less lonely and infinitely more rewarding. Before We Get Started will help you make your work as good as it can be: ?Pay attention recklessly. Strain to see through the window of your own artistic consciousness in the exhilarating knowledge that there is no path to the waterfall, and there are a million paths to the waterfall, and there is, too, only one path: yours.?

Review:

"Lott was a little-known writer of literary fiction until Oprah Winfrey selected his then out-of-print novel Jewel for her TV book club, rocketing him into publishing's major leagues. In this candid memoir and literary handbook, Lott looks back to the hard times before Oprah, when he was forced to juggle raising a young family with a demanding teaching job that left him little time for writing. Recently named editor of the Southern Review, Lott offers via his reminiscences plenty of practical advice on the craft of writing, which for him is intricately bound up with observation and soulfulness. His hero is Raymond Carver, and his literary values echo those of the master; he urges writers to attend to the weight of every word, to the material reality of characters' daily working lives and to the handling of time. Beginning writers will appreciate the heartfelt supportiveness of his counsel as he imparts encouragement and insight. Of wider cultural interest is Lott's critique of the irony hawked by such writers as David Foster Wallace and of the so-called postironic Dave Eggers. Lott advances a case for a new and radically more hopeful genre of fiction. He imparts his own brand of wisdom on writing and the world of publishing with resounding candor and sincerity." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In this engaging memoir...Lott takes on the art of writing by focusing on creativity and guiding the writer to certain realities of the craft....Highly recommended for anyone interested in the art of writing." Library Journal

Synopsis:

The novelist, teacher, and "Southern Review" editor offers thoughts on the craft of writing, the writer's life, and what he's learned from the trajectory of his own career.

About the Author

Bret Lott is the author of the novels A Song I Knew by Heart, Jewel (an Oprah?s Book Club Selection in 1999), Reed?s Beach, A Stranger?s House, The Man Who Owned Vermont, and The Hunt Club; the story collections How to Get Home and A Dream of Old Leaves; and the memoir Fathers, Sons, and Brothers. He lives with his wife in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was recently named editor of The Southern Review.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345478177
Author:
Lott, Bret
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Writing Skills
Subject:
Novelists, American
Subject:
Editors
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Novelists, American -- 20th century.
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Subject:
Writing
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20050131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
ONE FULL-PAGE BandW HALF-TONE
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.08x5.24x.49 in. .33 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Reference » Writing » General

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Product details 224 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345478177 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Lott was a little-known writer of literary fiction until Oprah Winfrey selected his then out-of-print novel Jewel for her TV book club, rocketing him into publishing's major leagues. In this candid memoir and literary handbook, Lott looks back to the hard times before Oprah, when he was forced to juggle raising a young family with a demanding teaching job that left him little time for writing. Recently named editor of the Southern Review, Lott offers via his reminiscences plenty of practical advice on the craft of writing, which for him is intricately bound up with observation and soulfulness. His hero is Raymond Carver, and his literary values echo those of the master; he urges writers to attend to the weight of every word, to the material reality of characters' daily working lives and to the handling of time. Beginning writers will appreciate the heartfelt supportiveness of his counsel as he imparts encouragement and insight. Of wider cultural interest is Lott's critique of the irony hawked by such writers as David Foster Wallace and of the so-called postironic Dave Eggers. Lott advances a case for a new and radically more hopeful genre of fiction. He imparts his own brand of wisdom on writing and the world of publishing with resounding candor and sincerity." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "In this engaging memoir...Lott takes on the art of writing by focusing on creativity and guiding the writer to certain realities of the craft....Highly recommended for anyone interested in the art of writing."
"Synopsis" by , The novelist, teacher, and "Southern Review" editor offers thoughts on the craft of writing, the writer's life, and what he's learned from the trajectory of his own career.

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