Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On not getting writing craft books

Cheryl St John posted a comment on my blog about not getting The Writer's Journey. Cheryl, in case you have not read her , writes wonderfully clear stories that if one is to analyse them probably do follow the exact pattern of the Hero's Journey. But she does not need to know what the journey is to make it.

Some books speak to you more than others. Some teaching methods/explanations work better at one time than others. Some days things seem to be blindingly clear and other days the same words can be a fog. It is the nature of things.

I was reminded of this yesterday when my middle was struggling to understand her math. It took her awhile to figure out that K simply means a constant number, and then to come up with a method for finding K and figuring out the formula. We worked together and the clouds disappeared from her eyes. My fingers are very crossed that her test goes fine today.

The post brought a reprint of A Week at Waterloo -- Magdalene de Lancey's first hand account of the battle and her fight to save her husband's life. They had been wed only a few weeks before the battle. The account is said to have inspired Thackerey. Dickens wrote that he should never forget the lightest word of it. Part of the proceeds from this edition goes to support the AFF (Armies Families Federation) Andrew Roberts has written a brilliant introduction.

Anyone who is interested in the Battle of Waterloo should read this book.


Cheryl St.John said...

Oh my goodness, Michelle! Thanks for not thinking I'm a dope 'cause I don't get The Writer's Journey! lol I love craft books, love to read them in between and during projects. Funny, but the one I always go back to -- that everyone else in the universe considers dry and boring -- is Techniques of The Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.

I cut my writing teeth on this book. One day everything in it simply clicked and a light bulb came on - and I had to rearrange my thinking and writing, because I saw his principles in every great book I ever read.

I still go back to it when I'm stuck in the middle of a book - which is probaby what I should be doing right now.

I just got a book called The Art of Styling Sentences. It's my current car book - you know, the one that stays in the car for those waiting minutes. Elijah and I have been enjoying it. He's eight!


Michelle Styles said...

Swain is another of those books that I reach for.
I like both Techniques and Creating Character. Both works are a mine of helpful info. With Techniques,I did have to get past some of his rather dated language.

An update on my daughter -- she found the exam straght forward, and did encounter a question like the ones we had practiced.