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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
Put out by 826 Valencia, the San Francisco-based nonprofit Eggers started to provide creative writing instruction for middle and high school students, this book presents straightforward, practical ideas and advice from a double-handful of contemporary writers. Edited by memoirist Traig (Devil in the Details), a longtime 826 Valencia tutor, it's comprised largely of excerpts from wide-ranging, insightful round-table discussions among nonfiction practitioners like Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Nick Hornby (Housekeeping vs. the Dirt), Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes) and Sarah Vowell (Assassination Vacation). To find the right topic, for example, Gus Lee (China Boy) suggests you "write about the biggest, scariest darn elephant in the living room of your soul." To decide which elements to edit, Laura Fraser (An Italian Affair) says, "nobody cares if you go to yoga on Tuesdays... unless it will contribute to the story or to the character that is you." Besides lessons on celebrating the ordinary and the importance of humor, contributors also offer ways to push through the inevitable writer's block and handle miffed family and friends. Their guidance, complemented by writing exercises and work plans, should prove useful, informative and motivating for writers at just about any level.
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