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Book Review Rating
Write Away
Elizabeth George
(Reviewer - Rebecca Brown)
Publicity: HarperCollins

2004 HarperCollins
ISBN: 0060560428

One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life.

Elizabeth George, best known for her London copper series featuring Thomas Lynley & Barbara Havers, has written an engrossing, impeccable guide to the writing life.

Here's what I tell my students on the first day when I teach one of my creative writing courses: You will be published if you possess three qualities -- talent, passion, and discipline.” (Page 253)

In Write Away, this New York Times bestselling author shows would-be writers exactly what they need to know about how to construct a novel. She provides a detailed overview of the craft, & gives helpful instruction on all its elements, from setting & plot to technique, character development & process. To illustrate her points, this author offers excerpts from the works of a number of much-read writers, including her friend Jefferson T. Parker, Barbara Kingsolver, Harper Lee, E. M. Forster, John Irving, Toni Morrison, Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, P. D. James, & Alice Hoffman.

In addition to being a clear & concise course in fiction writing, Write Away also is a glimpse into Elizabeth George's life, revealing her own story of getting published & read, as well as how she researches & crafts her works.

“I have a love-hate relationship with the writing life. I wouldn't wish to have any other kind of life ... on the other hand, I wish it were easier. And it never is. The reward comes sentence by sentence ... in the unexpected inspiration ... from creating a character who lives and breathes and is perfectly real ... I would never have believed it would take such effort.” (Book jacket)

I especially enjoyed the snippets of her Journal of a Novel which start each chapter, because you can really hear Elizabeth George's everyday voice as she thinks of what reviewers are saying about her work, or when she evaluates her writing the day before, or groans about her writing life, querying what on earth she think she's doing, or to enthuse about what books she is currently reading ... & yes, writers do read other people's books! & inevitably make comparisons. The writer who writes in a vacuum, will produce a vacuous tome. In some of her journal excerpts Elizabeth George muses on the story's Voice or The Scene or The Dialogue. & from these musings, grow the chapters to Write Away. Imperceptibly, elegantly & with charm.

I found myself reading Write Away for the multi-layered adventures of this Writing Life, as well for the instruction. Elizabeth George, & I cannot complete this review without commenting on the power of this author's name -- two monikers handed down by power people -- queens & kings, & presidents too. Elizabeth George, whose portrait has gazed upon me as I write this review, has inspired me to return to completing those stories which have persistently churned to the surface all my life, urging me to tell them.

Write Away is about the journey of writing. Bon Voyage & enjoy, I did, immensely!

More from Elizabeth George:
A Place of Hiding
Playing for the Ashes
A Great Deliverance
Well-Schooled in Murder
& many, many more!

Read Editor Rebecca Brown's Bio!
Comments/Feedback to The Editor HERE
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