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Write Away: One Novelist's Approach To Fiction and the Writing Life: One Novelist's Approach To Fiction and the Writing Life (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Elizabeth George
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

From Publishers Weekly

Here's a useful book for the novice writer battling the fears and insecurities that attend when she contemplates her first novel. Highly successful as the writer of a dozen novels of suspense (A Place of Hiding, etc.) and a teacher with significant experience, George reveals that those same fears and insecurities still bedevil her. She quickly moves beyond that to a consideration of the craft of writing-mastering the tools and techniques that a writer needs in order to create art. While George illustrates her points with passages from both her own works and those of numerous writers she admires (Martin Cruz Smith, Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, Michael Dorris), this remains more of a how-I-do-it book than a how-to-do-it book. Thus George will typically discuss an aspect of writing, such as creating the landscape of a novel, illustrate it with examples from various writers and then show how she approaches it. The result is an informative, instructive and idiosyncratic examination of the structure of the novel and of one writer's rigorously disciplined approach to creating one. George makes clear that writing is a job and that mastering the tools and techniques of the craft can go a long way toward making a writer successful. Finally, she advocates self-discipline, or what Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One) calls "bum glue." As George puts it, "A lot of writing is simply showing up... day after day, same time and same place." Both aspiring writers and fans of George's novels should enjoy the author's insights into the creative process.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Revue de presse

“An impressively thorough and down-to-earth guide...a perfect DIY guide for the determined new novelist.” (Sunday Times (London))

“Elizabeth George knows her stuff. How well she knows it is readily apparent in Write Away.” (

“An inclusive and enlightening examination of George’s thoughts on the craft of writing.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

“You should buy the book to learn her novel-writing specifics. They’re there in spades.” (Orange County Register)

“A fabulous book for writers.” (Birmingham News)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 557 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 304 pages
  • Editeur : Hodder; Édition : New Ed (13 octobre 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B005KKQ0U4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°187.233 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Très intéressant ! 19 juin 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Un livre très riche et très intéressant... Comme je l'ai lu il y a déjà pas mal de temps je ne sais plus trop en quoi il est unique ; il faudra que je le relise. Si vous êtes motivé pour écrire un roman, c'est un des livres qui vaut la peine d'être lu attentivement.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 exceptionnel 26 décembre 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
A lire absolument si vous avez envie d'écrire un roman. On sent la pédagogie de George qui a été enseignante de littérature. Sa méthode est exceptionnelle et fonctionne.

Je le recommande vivement à tous les écrivains en herbe
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.6 étoiles sur 5  55 commentaires
63 internautes sur 67 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Elizabeth George's enthusiasm for writing will draw you in 19 mars 2004
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur
Full disclosure: Elizabeth George is one of my all-time favorite mystery writers --- actually, George, like the others on that shortlist (including P.D. James and Ruth Rendell), writes in a more specific arm of the genre, known as the "literary mystery." What this means to readers is that the books these authors produce have complex characters, beautifully constructed (sometimes intricate) plots and fine, subtle use of language that manages to simultaneously contribute to the mystery at hand and to delight on its own.
What this means to writers is that Elizabeth George knows her stuff. How well she knows it is readily apparent in WRITE AWAY: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life, because she grounds most of her instructional examples in excerpts from great literature, including classics like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and modern suspense/thriller novels such as MYSTIC RIVER. George taught English at El Toro High School in Huntington Beach, California for over a decade before turning her back away from the lectern and towards her computer screen in the mid-1980s, and she now frequently teaches creative writing. Her pedantry is of the pleasant variety, meant not to bury potential writers but to encourage them.
Still, this book does have its pedantic moments, especially as George elucidates her process. One of the most important parts of her process is creating a "character map" before she begins her first draft. As she explained why and how she does this, it made perfect sense --- for her. I love reading literary mysteries, but they are not a genre I'm likely to write myself. WRITE AWAY, at first, seemed to me to be an excellent way to learn about how to write an Elizabeth George novel. Indeed, it's not as if she's hiding what she's doing: her subtitle says it all. And she begins each chapter with a brief section from one of her own journals kept while writing in order to show that even published authors get the blues.
Yet, from the moment I began to read George's book, I was drawn in by her enthusiasm for writing. She may have been describing what works for her, but her energy and excitement made me want to discover what works best for me. George is quite right when she says that she is puzzled by those who believe writing can't be taught; it is, after all, at least halfways a craft. In the sections where she discusses different techniques as "tools" and says that using these well is part of a building process, she reminded me that artisanal skill can be just as important as artistic inspiration.
George also reminds would-be, struggling and working writers that all the art and craft in the world can't help if you don't have discipline; her chapter titled "The Value of Bum Glue" (that colorful noun taken from Australian bestselling author Bryce Courtenay) should be read by every writer and writing student in the country. But one of the last things she hits on, while not new under the sun, is made urgent again by her own thoughtful, elegant prose: "Lots of people want to have written; they don't want to write. In other words, they want to see their name on the front cover of a book and their grinning picture on the back. But this is what comes at the end of a job, not at the beginning. To reach that end you have to be willing just to set it aside, knowing that it may never happen at all but not much caring because it's the writing that matters to you; it's the mystery and the magic of putting words on paper that are truly important. If you don't feel this way, then you want to be an author, not a writer."
On one hand, I wonder why she didn't put that up front. On the other, I see exactly why she saved these words for last. Great mystery writer that she is, Elizabeth George has forced us to march through the forest tree by tree before revealing her secret.
--- Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Overview for Beginning Writers 16 juillet 2005
Par John C. Dunbar - Publié sur
The author, Elizabeth George, presents the process she follows when writing novels. She does not present it as a panacea but describes the benefits of her approach. The author says she's left-brained and must plan her novels. She also says she must start with the main characters first, and after they are well devloped the story nearly writes itself. She also believes in researching out her setting because she wants the settings to be be as realistic as possible. She may combine the descriptions of several real buildings into one scene. I think her discussions of characters, setting, and her overall process are the best parts of her book.

Her process can be summarized as: come up with the Idea for the story, develop it further into an Expanded Idea (read the book for details), invent the Primary Initiating Event, derive the initial cut of the Characters, develop detailed Biographies for them, Research the story (how to do it), create the Characters, create the Settings, create a Step Outline (phrases for each of 15 or so scenes, all scenes placed on one page), then create a Plot Outline (stream-of-consciousness expansion of each scene), write the Rough Draft, do a Fast Read, write an Editorial Letter to yourself describing the deep changes needed, Second Revision, have the Second Draft read by an informed reader (the Cold Reader), do a Third Draft, mail it off.

There's much more than this process discussed: dialog, subtexting, THAD's, etc.

I enjoyed the book very much and was most pleased with the practical advice by this author.

John Dunbar

Sugar Land, TX
38 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The author's fans will like this book; the rest should look elsewhere 22 octobre 2009
Par Francis Tapon - Publié sur
OVERALL: George's fans will certainly love having some insight into her work. However, the rest of us will do better looking at Frey's book or Ben Bova's book on writing science fiction.


- She takes the "show, don't tell" mantra a bit too far by having VERY long excerpts. Sometimes it goes for 2-3 pages. This felt excessively long. Be brief.

- About 25-33% of the examples were from her own work. I couldn't stay awake reading her excerpts. Just too slow and long winded. She admits that her editor says that "nobody will accuse you of being fast-paced." It's true. It's S-L-O-W. So even a few paragraphs is too much. She should have used more classic examples from Tier A writers. Most of her books on Amazon hover around 3 stars - that's not good. Her highest rated book is this one!

- Her organization is confusing. She has a chapter (or two) on Character and Setting near the beginning. Then, mysteriously, she addresses the issue again at the end in a few extra chapters. Sloppy organization.

- Most of her lessons and tips were obvious and have been said before. It might have been better to write a "how to write a mystery book".


- She rarely says anything that's wrong. The only thing I definitely disagreed with is her emphasis of going to the location. This is good, but not essential. And it's impossible (often) when you're writing Scifi. Thanks to the Net, you can do virtual tours of Mecca without going there.

Finally, I'll share my key takeaways from Write Away by Elizabeth George:

-Characters learn something from the events (and does the reader).
-Characters are interesting in their conflict, misery, unhappiness, and confusion.
-Give them flaws and let them doubt something, make them grow and change, and put them in conflict.
-The words, syntax of the characters show their education, economics, attitude, beliefs, superstitions, pathology.
-Create a core need: we strive for this and if we don't get it, we show our psychopathlogy. --Examples are the need to be competent, to do your duty to belong, for excitement, to be authentic, to be right.
-The pathlogical manoeuvre is the flip side of the core need and is what comes out when the character is under stress. Examples: delusions, obsessions, compulsions, addictions, denial, hysterical ailments, hypochndria, illness, harming the self, harming others, phobias.
-What's the characters sexual history? What's his attitude toward it?
-What's the characters past?
-What do the characters want? In each scene and in the book?
-Put them in a crucible: they're stuck together for some reason and can't escape from being in conflict with each other.
-We understand people who have background like ours, who live in situations like ours, we admire characters who face and prevail in tough situations that we have experienced, who examine themselves honestly and their motives, who learn from their mistakes, who meet challenges with courage. This will help us care about the character.
-Place a clue and red herring together. Mention the clue, but draw all the attention to the red herring.

7 step story line (she got this from someone else)
1.The hook
2.Plot point #1: about 25% into the book. Ongoing events change: unexpected info, new facts, new character, personal discovering. Story pivots.
3.Midpoint: Increase the drama'someone arrives, finds threat, divorce, natural disaster.
4.Plot Point #2: nothing new is added, but tension reaches its apex.
5.Narrative Climax: The protagonist DECIDES. Wife decides to leave husband, detective decides on how to get the killer, the victim decides to get revenge. The decision involves risk: mental, physical, emotional, psychological.
6.Dramatic Climax: The big fight, the courtroom verdict. The emotional release. Reader is looking for satisfaction.
7.Denouement: Tie up loose ends.

Hero's Journey (she got this from someone else, who got it from Joseph Campbell)

1.Call to adventure.
2.Refuse the call.
3.Mentor prepares the hero.
4.Crosses the first threshold and embarks on the adventure.
5.Hero understands the nature and identity of his enemies and friends.
6.Approach the inmost cave: a place of fear and danger.
7.Endures the ordeal.
8.Receives reward.
9.The road back.
10.Resurrection of the evil to test hero one more time.
11.Returns with the elixir.

Create a Character prompt sheet, with things like:

Physical peculiarities:
Best friend:
Core need:
Pathological manoeuvre:
Ambition in life:

Summary of George's steps:
1.The Idea and primary event
2.List of characters
4.Create characters
5.Create settings
6.Step outline
7.Plot ouline
8.Write rough draft
9.Fast reading
10.Editorial letter to self
11.2nd draft
12.Cold reader
13.Third draft

CONCLUSION: As you can see, I got some things out of the book, but I didn't feel anything was new or original. The examples were too long and too often from her work, which I didn't find entertaining. I gave it 3 stars because it's so-so overall. I recommend another book, like James Frey, which she quotes from a few times.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent 12 janvier 2006
Par a reader - Publié sur
I had never heard of, or read, Elizabeth George's books until Write Away. I think it is an excellent reference book on writing. (I am now an avid Lynley series fan too.)

E.George gives a step-by-step plan for writing a novel in Write Away that focuses heavily on process details. The more writing books I read, the more I feel that this book is most helpful for seeing the details of writing. For example, how to create character backgrounds, how to research setting, how to write out a plot summary. I found this type of information useful and concrete. If you are a writer, and you don't have a "plan" for how to get your story out of your head and onto the page, then this is an excellent book to read for ideas.

Usually, I borrow reference books like these from the library to decide if the book is useful enough to purchase. Write Away was, and now my paperback copy is sitting on my desk where I can easily grab it.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 sound, honest and entertaining guide 6 mai 2004
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
As someone who has written a (unpublished) book, I admire George's dedication and sense of humor toward her craft. She obviously does not suffer from the syndrome that makes writers veer from embarrassing self-deprecation to pompous claims of being a genius. There is nothing I dislike more than a novelist using a how-to guide for the purpose of complaining how he or she should be more well-known and/or critically acclaimed. George avoids the temptation of taking pot shots at her critics and instead focuses on the writing process itself. She is admirably honest about stating that what works for her won't necessarily work for everyone. Therefore, even if you can't see yourself having the same kind of self-discipline she does, you will probably still find at least part of the book useful.
Where George differs from many other writers is that she writes about a place (England) where she was not raised and does not live. However, the process she uses to ensure her mysteries are realistic is interesting in and of itself.
People who believe the writing process is some mysterious and murky voodoo only a few are lucky enough to know will be pleasantly surprised at how clearly George describes the writing process, even if the path that they discover works best for them is not identical.
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