Book Review

Recommended Reading for Memoir Writers: Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Whether you're familiar with Susanna Kaysen's memoir about her hospitalization for mental illness in the 1960s or it's new to you, I recommend reading Girl, Interrupted if you plan to write a memoir. Here's why:   Topography Motif Kaysen employs a pattern of chapters focused on topography, whereby she maps out the features of different places (both figurative and literal), starting with the “parallel...

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Provisional Pen Recommends Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you're looking for a book to help you get into the right mindset for writing, I recommend Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Notice that Gilbert doesn't promise us “creative living without fear.” No, dealing with our fear is an important part of the process, according to Gilbert (22-24). In six thematic sections divided into short, quickly readable...

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Provisional Pen Recommends Stephen King’s On Writing

Like most dedicated readers, you’ve likely wondered what motivates your favorite authors. If Stephen King happens to be one of your faves, you’re in for a real treat. In On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (10th Anniversary Edition), King chronicles the experiences (both hilarious and heartbreaking) that shaped him as a writer. He also reveals the inspiration behind some of...

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Recommended Reading for Writers: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird

There’s a reason so many composition instructors introduce their students to Anne Lamott’s wonderfully witty “Shitty First Drafts.” Enlightening yet approachable, her advice shows writers-in-progress that all is not, indeed, hopeless. Better yet, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which includes her well-known essay, gives readers the next best thing to taking a writing workshop with the irrepressible...

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Writing in the Science Fiction Genre; A Book Review

Provisional Pen Recommends:   Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction: How to Create Out-of-this-world Novels and Short Stories. By Orson Scott Card, Phillip Athans, Jay Lake, and the Editors of Writer’s Digest.   Whenever a writer embarks on a genre- specific project, it is helpful to have a set of guidelines to follow. Along those lines comes this instructional book, but it is so much more....

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