Read Like A Writer

There are two ways to learn how to write fiction: by reading it and by writing it. Yes, you can learn lots about writing stories in workshops, in writing classes and writing groups, at writers' conferences. You can learn technique and process by reading the dozens of books like this one on fiction writing and by reading articles in writers' magazines. But the best teachers of fiction are the great works of fiction themselves. You can learn more about the structure of a short story by reading Anton Chekhov's 'Heartache' than you can in a semester of Creative Writing 101. If you read like a writer, that is, which means you have to read everything twice, at least. When you read a story or novel the first time, just let it happen. Enjoy the journey. When you've finished, you know where the story took you, and now you can go back and reread, and this time notice how the writer reached that destination. Notice the choices he made at each chapter, each sentence, each word. (Every word is a choice.) You see now how the transitions work, how a character gets across a room. All this time you're learning. You loved the central character in the story, and now you can see how the writer presented the character and rendered her worthy of your love and attention. The first reading is creative—you collaborate with the writer in making the story. The second reading is critical.

John Dufresne, from his book, The Lie That Tells A Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction


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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson


by Robert Louis Stevenson

Illustrated by Louis Rhead


PART ONE—The Old Buccaneer 
1. The Old Sea-dog at the "Admiral Benbow" 
2. Black Dog Appears and Disappears 
3. The Black Spot 
4. The Sea-chest 
5. The Last of the Blind Man 
6. The Captain's Papers 

PART TWO—The Sea-cook 
7. I Go to Bristol 
8. At the Sign of the Spy-glass 
9. Powder and Arms 
10. The Voyage 
11. What I Heard in the Apple Barrel 
12. Council of War 

PART THREE—My Shore Adventure 
13. How My Shore Adventure Began 
14. The First Blow 
15. The Man of the Island 

PART FOUR—The Stockade 
16. Narrative Continued by the Doctor: How the Ship Was Abandoned 
17. Narrative Continued by the Doctor: The Jolly-boat's Last Trip 
18. Narrative Continued by the Doctor: End of the First Day's Fighting 
19. Narrative Resumed by Jim Hawkins: The Garrison in the Stockade 
20. Silver's Embassy 
21. The Attack 

PART FIVE—My Sea Adventure 
22. How My Sea Adventure Began 
23. The Ebb-tide Runs 
24. The Cruise of the Coracle 
25. I Strike the Jolly Roger 
26. Israel Hands 
27. "Pieces of Eight" 

PART SIX—Captain Silver 
28. In the Enemy's Camp 
29. The Black Spot Again 
30. On Parole 
31. The Treasure-hunt—Flint's Pointer 
32. The Treasure-hunt—The Voice Among the Trees 
33. The Fall of a Chieftain 
34. And Last 

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