Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Guest Blogger K.W. Gish - On Her Favorite Writing Book

Last week, Paul Deane guest blogged on Writing Collaboration. Today, I have the pleasure of having the second part of this collaboration team, Kimbra Wilder Gish, guest blog about one of her favorite writing books! I'm very excited about this post, as I'm always looking for new great books on the craft. Please welcome Kimbra and make sure to check out her suggestion!

I love writing books. I love them a little too much, perhaps - after all, it's always easier to pick up a writing book and congratulate myself on how much I'm accomplishing by learning what this author has to teach than it is to actually write.
I wish I could say that I am the type of writer who sits down at exactly the same time every morning, six or seven days a week, and writes. I am sometimes a writer who writes every day, and my life is better when I do it. But sometimes life does get in the way more than I want, and in those times it is a real challenge to make time for writing. I think life is like that for many of us who write: we have wonderful plans and hopes and dreams, but life gets in the way, and so for me the best writing books are those which help me to tap into my writer self, to find a way into that magical place I discover when I really start to write. For that, I most often turn to Leslea Newman's Write from the Heart: Inspiration and Exercises for Women Who Want to Write.

Despite the title, this book isn't valuable exclusively to women - I don't know of any person, male or female, who couldn't benefit from this book - though for women writers, it is as valuable and important a work as Virginia Woolf's famous "A Room of One's Own." It's a book of writing exercises for fiction and poetry, a few words on publishing, and appendices full of valuable writing resources, including lots of reading recommendations. Many of the exercises are simple - sometimes deceptively so. They have a way of sucking the writer in, revealing where powerful memories and material lie buried, revealing things I didn't know about the character I'm working on, unlocking information about a project that I didn't know was there. The exercises are wonderful as a daily writing practice, and many are also fantastic for use with a particular character I'm wanting to develop for a book or short story. I generate more material than will ever survive in the final draft, but in doing so, I discover where the story lies, whom the story is about, what those characters are like.... The exercises are written in a warm and inviting manner - Newman is now a writing teacher in the low-residency MFA program at Spalding University, and it's easy to see what a great teacher she must be, because she has this absolutely conversational tone. It's as if your favorite aunt is a writer and has invited you in for a chat over tea and homemade cookies, and as you chat she invites you to your writing space with all the warmth and ease of an experienced and gentle guide. She gives lots of examples for reading fun; she covers poetry as well as fiction...she's simply stunning. It's so simple and yet it's like a master class you can take over and over and over again, and still gain something, learn something, every time you open the book. It's absolutely my favorite book on writing.

I could recommend at least half a dozen amazing writing books, and dozens of good ones, but if you buy only one book on writing (poor you!), this is the one you MUST have. It's a good size to throw in a totebag or briefcase or even an oversized purse, and it's like having a master teacher with you. All you need is this book, a notebook, and a pen, and you're ready to tap into your inner writer. Through these prompts and exercises, you can discover what matters deeply to you, what matters deeply to your characters, and the inner writer you know is in there, hiding somewhere. Write from the Heart always brings my inner writer out to play. I hope it will do the same for yours!

Thank you, Kimbra, for stopping by! I'm running out to check out this book!

Kimbra Wilder Gish was born in Middlesboro, Kentucky, part of the Appalachian region. By the time she was in elementary school, she often pretended that the back of her parents’ car was a hobbit-hole. In first grade, she refused to color her coloring pages, and instead turned them over, wrote stories on the backs, and signed them with the names of such fictional characters as Bilbo Baggins and Peter Rabbit.
Kimbra now lives in Henderson, Kentucky with her supportive husband, Darren, and a ten-pound chihuahua mix who thinks he owns them both. A former librarian specializing in children's and young adult services as well as medicine, she has a passion for information and books and is happiest in a library. Her favorite fantasy authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Rae Carson.
When not reading or writing, Kimbra enjoys crocheting and simple cooking. Her YA fantasy books in the Aislin (pronounced "eyes-lynn") saga, beginning with Daughter of the Signs, are collaborations with Paul Douglas Deane, an awesome writing partner and friend whom she met online through a mutual love for J.R.R. Tolkien. 
You can find Kimbra on Twitter: @kwgishwriter. And check out her blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...