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How to Write an Essay About Any Book in English Class: Part 1

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Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:. That line is moving and stays with you. Damn good communication, in short. No matter what style or medium, it is a book that every writer should read. There are concerns that loom over every "new" writer that always seem foolish as time passes.

Seeing a great writer's finished work is only seeing their highlight reel--their process is an enigma, and can create a sense that such talent came to them naturally, like dictation from God. Any final essay only reveals the smallest percentage of total effort: Anne Lamott's passage that owns up to the struggle of every first draft perfectly captures the importance of knowing that good writers become great through revision:.

And often the right words do come, and you--well--"write" for a while; you put a lot of thoughts down on paper. But the bad news is that if you're at all like me, you'll probably read over what you've written and spend the rest of the day obsessing, and praying that you do not die before you can completely rewrite or destroy what you have written, lest the eagerly waiting world learn how bad your first drafts are.

Brainstorm horizontally, edit vertically. Remember that blades and words becomes sharp by filing them down. Like carving a sculpture from marble, you need excess material to revise your way to "no words have been wasted.

With no need to introduce it, I'm better off sharing some of my favorite passages. First, on approaching the blank page:. You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair-the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names.

You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: We need to experience the mediocre and the outright rotten; such experience helps us to recognize those things when they begin to creep into our own work, and to steer clear of them. What is the job of the writer?

The next time you hear someone struggle to capture a moment, a feeling, an idea, you'll know:. I just can't describe it! Such a book wouldn't be complete without mention of the struggle. Ask yourself how far you would go for focus:. If you're just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television's electric plug wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. While wonderfully written, it suffers from being overly-descriptive and too long--a flaw the book suggests to avoid!

Otherwise it is delightful. When you write you should pretend that you, the writer, see something in the world that's interesting, that you are directing the attention of your reader to that thing in the world, and that you are doing so by means of conversation. That may sound obvious.

But it's amazing how many of the bad habits of academese and legalese and so on come from flouting that model. Not That Kind of Girl: The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Essays Hardcover by Mary Oliver. Paperback by Mindy Kaling Goodreads Author. Both Flesh and Not: Essays Hardcover by David Foster Wallace. Calypso Hardcover by David Sedaris. The Fire This Time: But I have no way of knowing if this is true, as I have not yet found time to read 'Dracula.

You need to accept that not every word, every emotional thought, every adjective-loaded sentence that flows from your hot fingertips is precious. I mentored many rookie reporters who had a cocky, almost swaggering pride at where their writing skills landed them out of college. A few weeks in a newsroom with a couple of crusty copyeditors exploded that attitude.

Then, they were ready to listen. Objectively, unemotionally and dispassionately analyzing your writing is one of the most valuable skills you can develop to further your writing opportunities. Good writing has a rhythm, that deliberate cadence the writer creates in your mind as you read. Marvel at the perfectly placed and exquisitely balanced use of illusion, surprise and metaphor, and crave to imitate it.

Thirdly, you have an insatiable desire to learn anything and everything to improve your writing, the openness to accept constructive criticism and the commitment to sit with your bloated prose and edit until it sparkles. Yes, writing is a solitary craft. And learning to improve our writing can feel like solitary confinement without guidance and reassurance. We can learn from teachers, from workshops, from books, but ultimately success is up to us, alone with our notepad or laptop.

Of course, most writing books will touch upon each type of writing advice. But to improve your writing skills in the fastest and most effective way, you must understand what you need to grow as a writer right now and choose the appropriate book to help. We have writers of all levels of experience and ability reading Smart Blogger and in our GuestBlogging training program and Serious Bloggers Only community.

They typically describe themselves in one of three stages:. You know your writing needs work — lots of work — but you are compelled to keep writing because you feel powerless to staunch the flow.

Ideally, you should be reading both books on mechanics and structure. But the books on the mechanics of language will likely bore you to death right now.

A poorly written but well-structured piece of writing can be polished. A poorly structured and poorly written piece is a nightmare, and rarely worth the editing effort it demands. Start with books on approach and structure that will help you think through your ideas before you put them on the page.

Often, with good writers, the best writing happens in your head before you even jot down a sentence. More on this later. Study the structure of screenwriting, novel writing or poetry for six months or until it feels nearly second nature to shift into this new form.

The change in your writing will be dramatic and permanent. But your writing experience has been centered in business, academia, medicine, law or other utilitarian venues. You recognize that your writing is solid, but it lacks warmth and sparkle.

Try on a few silly new rituals, like writing poetry by candlelight or stream-of-conscious journaling in the pre-dawn hours to change up your point of view. If one of these writing stages resonated strongly with you, jump down to our favorites in the three categories below and start there.

The one that jumps up and gently taps you on the cheek like a hungry cat to get your attention. Start there and take the time to import the ideas and exercises into your current writing immediately. Even 30 minutes a day will make a noticeable difference in a short time.

I was fortunate to find On Writing Well while I was working at my first newspaper and realized my editors, excellent grammarians all, could not teach me anything more about significantly improving my writing. This one book changed the trajectory of my career as a journalist from a mediocre, but promising, community reporter at a large twice-weekly paper to an international business reporter at a respected metropolitan business paper. If you read only one book on improving the structure and mechanics of language, make it this one.

Buy this book on Amazon. Save the Cat is essentially a formula book, focused on the structure of screenplays. Think of it as an introductory college course that teaches you the basics. Learn how to make an audience fall in love with you.

Compelling stories are the undercurrent that propels successful writers and bloggers of all kinds. Whether you are writing blog posts, e-books, magazine articles or novels, having the skills to deftly tell a story will make you both memorable and in-demand as a writer.

Story Engineering is like a master class in storytelling and novel writing. It focuses deeply on the six core elements — or competencies — of successful storytelling, screenplays and novels. An intense, comprehensive book, Story Engineering can help bring your writing to a professional level if you read and consistently apply the concepts in this book.

You can master the structure of a good story with this book, whatever topic, niche or length you write. And get all your questions answered about storytelling in one place. While at first glance this book looks like it has nothing to do with blogging, learning how to craft a compelling personal essay is the essence of what most bloggers struggle with today. Naked and Drunk is about two-thirds biographical and about one-third writing lessons.

This is the book you also want to read if you want to learn to effectively tell your own story. You need to understand the elements of crafting a good story to fully appreciate and benefit from the lessons in Naked and Drunk. Read it after the storytelling books. Read it after you read Save the Cat. With tens of thousands of new blogs created every day, according to WordPress. This is cross training in storytelling.

Learn it; then make it work for you. Title turn you off? Too money-grabbing for you? Skip this copywriting book at your blogging peril. Successful blogging is persuasive writing in another suit of clothes. You need to connect with people through stories and persuade them you have a message worth reading or products worth buying through copywriting.

Jon recommends this book for most bloggers because it has the most modern approach and best summary of the key points covered in the fundamental copywriting books. At least, it will open your eyes to how you respond to the persuasive writing all around you without even knowing it. Then reread it at least once a year. Very much a memoir, King uses stories of his wild childhood to illustrate the making of a writer.

You get to peer inside his head and see how his mind formulates those bizarre ideas and crafts unworldly plots. The craft of storytelling to engage readers and keep them coming back for more from the author of more than 50 worldwide bestsellers , and how to constantly think about what your readers are thinking so you can crawl inside their heads and freak them out. She so adeptly and invisibly reflects her thoughts and experiences back on the reader that you feel an intimate part of her personal stories — a rare and long-acquired storytelling skill.

This is another book to read at least once a year. Lamott could be a role model and idol for bloggers who want to use their personal stories to illustrate fundamental truths about life. Although published nearly 30 years ago, Goldberg would be a hugely popular blogger today if she filled a blog with her Zen-inspired posts on how to be a writer, how to beat procrastination, the beauty of language and how to be focused and spontaneous at the same time.

Children stood there and stared at me, wide-eyed, as I wrote poems on their ideas — ballet, wrestling, the rain — in the pen color of their choice. If you need something gentle to jar you out of your same-old same-old writing rut and inspire you to see the world with fresh eyes, read this book.

Every day, your mental kaleidoscope is filled with images and impressions you can use to create mesmerizing stories. Books can bring structure and insight, but the constant search for exactly the right book keeps you from the job at hand — the act of writing.

Lucy Barber Jun 12, Also very good for inspiration and great at pointing out the small opportunities you have in writing for showing something that elicits an emotional response. Brett Aug 31, Always wanted improve my writing skills. With your advice, believe that I can achieve this. Marsha Stopa Jun 12, Nikhil Waghdhare Jun 12, Useful List of books to improve wiring. I hope this book may be helpful for me to become a better writer.

Thank you for sharing this list with us Marsha…. Elke Feuer Jun 12, Talk about a kick in the pants, buy these great resources, kind of post. I especially enjoyed how you broke out the writer stages. Totally sharing this with my writing group. Hope your writing group finds it useful. Larry Jun 12, I am very honored to see my book on your list of essential reading. It deserves to be on the list because it is essential reading for serious writers.

Kate Coleman Jul 21, So much solid good advice, giving me a very clear structure to follow. You have given me the blue print, now it is up to me to create the best story I can. Michael Feeley Jun 12, What an amazing and valuable post. Shane Arthur Jun 12, Olivier Duong fstopeight Jun 12, Rita Mailheau Jun 12, I finish it and then begin again. I plan to add one of yours to my ongoing reading list. Quinn Eurich Jun 12, Kathy Porter Jun 12, My copies of Bird and Writing Down the Bones are pretty dogeared; so glad to them on your list.

Mary Oliver won me over years ago. Learning never stops, does it? Deborah Anderson Jun 12, Hey Marsha — Thanks for the recommendations! I went out and bought two of them.

That is just the nudge I needed to set aside the non-fiction writing I normally do and finish up my Jazz novel. Sjoerd Bergstra Jun 12, Love the post Marsha, thank you very much. Peggy Nolan Jun 12, Thank you for putting together this compelling list. JenX67 Jun 13, Wonderful, comprehensive post, Jon.

You work so hard and the Blogosphere rewards you. Marcus Brotherton Jun 12, Boy was I wrong. My first novel is coming out in September. Read it, study it, enjoy it. A book for the basics, and another to read through once a year. Another where the title can put you off, yet this is an older book packed with excellent structural advice.

Bill Honnold Jun 12, You must be snooping through my writing library. I have most of the books that you recommend. And they are all excellent books. Then the quote is for you, too: Brenda Spandrio Jun 12, Time to get serious and follow through — all the way through….

Kathryn Atkins Jun 12, Writing Down the Bones. Olayinka Jun 12, Cathie Jennings Jun 12,

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Good books for essay writing Apologize. Continued revision or suggestion comment revision: Essentially, it was said, they might be easy, . An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily .

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Which is the best book for essay writing for all competitive examinations? Update Cancel. ad by Grammarly. Buy Writing Essays For Dummies Book Online at Low Prices in India. What are some good books for essay writing paper of UPSC? Books shelved as essays: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Walla.