The Writer's Mentor: A Guide to Putting Passion on Paper [NOOK Book]

Overview

In The Writers Mentor, bestselling author, teacher, and writing coach Cathleen Rountree addresses the most common dilemmas of both aspiring and professional writers. Written in a question-and-answer format, this book stands apart from other books on writing by its linking of practical information on effective writing strategies with inspirational stories from the lives of famous writers.

Cathleen Rountree responds to such questions as: How do I get ideas for writing? What should...

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The Writer's Mentor: A Guide to Putting Passion on Paper

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Overview

In The Writers Mentor, bestselling author, teacher, and writing coach Cathleen Rountree addresses the most common dilemmas of both aspiring and professional writers. Written in a question-and-answer format, this book stands apart from other books on writing by its linking of practical information on effective writing strategies with inspirational stories from the lives of famous writers.

Cathleen Rountree responds to such questions as: How do I get ideas for writing? What should I do when I am stuck and just staring at a blank page? What is the best time of day to write? How do I set a writing schedule? What can I do to achieve a state of "flow" when writing?

In anwering these questions, she shares not only what she has learned from her own experiences in writing and publishing eight books, but also many of the writing secrets of famous literary figures--from fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Included are tips from Anne Tyler, Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Margaret Atwood, Tennessee Williams, Maya Angelou, Ernest Hemingway, Diane Ackerman, Virginia Woolf, Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda, Doris Lessing, and more. Included in each chapter is a feature called "The Writer's Mentor Suggests," which gives readers a list of concrete suggestions and tips around the writing topic. A wonderful feature in every chapter is a look at the writing life through films such as The Shining, Bridget Jones' Diary, and Shakespeare in Love.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609253349
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
  • Publication date: 2/1/2002
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt

The highlight of the evening¹s events at the March 2001 Academy Awards ceremony was Stephen Soderbergh¹s acceptance speech for the Best Director Award for the film Traffic. But his words became less of a speech when he steered attention away from himself and graciously projected it back to the nearly 1 billion viewers that night, saying that he shared the Oscar with artists, writers, actors, dancers, and "anyone who spends part of their day creating," because "without art this world would be unlivable." When I heard those words a powerful emotion welled up in my throat. And, even as I write them here, the feeling repeats itself, and I realize that it has now become a memory in my body.

Later that year, in my graduate program, I took a course titled "Cultural Mythologies II," which was taught by Dr. Dennis Slattery. Our assigned reading was Dante¹s Divina Commedia, and my school¹s three-month-long quarter system offered a natural division of parts for the reading of the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. On September 10, we spent six hours When that membrane between art and life, fiction and reality, evaporates, as it seemingly did for many of us on September 11, one is stunned by the unexpected power of this psychological crossover. It has infinite dimension, and feels something like opening the door to a room in your home and stepping into an M. C. Escher drawing in which hands draw themselves, stairways lead nowhere, and fish transmute into birds. I had spent much of the preceding day reflecting on an imagined Inferno, but on that morning I awakened to a living inferno.

My friend Madeleine, with whom I was staying in Ventura, bounded into my room at around 5:55 a.m., and, for an imperturbable Swedish national, conveyed an uncommon urgency. Even if one did not witness the carnage and destruction on television as it happened, the subsequent relentless replaying of the images the airliners lunging into the mesh and glass belly of the World Trade Center, the violence of the incendiary eruption, the unthinkable avalanche of 110 floors, twice What¹s the point?" In a writing class I taught at the UCLA Writer¹s Program in mid-October, one of my students perfectly articulated this state when she said to the other students and me, "As a novice it¹s hard enough to keep my momentum up for writing, but now I feel totally incapacitated." Around that time, a stricken Joan Didion on the Charlie Rose show said, "I don¹t think any writer in America didn¹t feel the day it happened that everything they were working on was in some way irrelevant. And then you start finding ways in which to deepen your understanding of what you were doing it¹s a new level."

On September 11, Steven Soderbergh¹s words, "Without art this world would be unlivable," took on an entirely new significance. At first I began to write in my journal my thoughts, fears, anxieties

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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay
Postscript for The Writer's Mentor
...words which are flowers become fruits which are deeds...
--Octavio Paz, "Hymn Among the Ruins"

The highlight of the evening's events at the March 2001 Academy Awards ceremony was Stephen Soderbergh's acceptance speech for the Best Director Award for the film Traffic. But his words became less of a speech when he steered attention away from himself and graciously projected it back to the nearly 1 billion viewers that night, saying that he shared the Oscar with artists, writers, actors, dancers, and "anyone who spends part of their day creating," because "without art this world would be unlivable." When I heard those words a powerful emotion welled up in my throat. And, even as I write them here, the feeling repeats itself, and I realize that it has now become a memory in my body.

Later that year, in my graduate program, I took a course titled Cultural Mythologies II, which was taught by Dr. Dennis Slattery. Our assigned reading was Dante's Divina Commedia, and my school's three-month-long quarter system offered a natural division of parts for the reading of the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. On September 10th, we spent six hours -- a luxury afforded programs with daylong classes such as those at Pacifica Graduate Institute -- discussing the Inferno.

When that membrane between art and life, fiction and reality, evaporates, as it seemingly did for many of us on September 11th, one is stunned by the unexpected power of this psychological crossover. It has infinite dimension and feels something like opening the door to a room in your home and stepping into an M. C. Escher drawing in which hands draw themselves, stairways lead nowhere, and fish transmute into birds. I had spent much of the preceding day reflecting on an imagined Inferno, but on that morning I awakened to a living inferno.

My friend Madeleine, with whom I was staying in Ventura, bounded into my room at around 5:55 a.m., and, for an imperturbable Swedish national, conveyed an uncommon urgency. Even if one did not witness the carnage and destruction on television as it happened, the subsequent relentless replaying of the images -- the airliners lunging into the mesh-and-glass belly of the World Trade Center, the violence of the incendiary eruption, the unthinkable avalanche of 110 floors, twice -- have emblazoned them onto the world psyche. Oddly, or, perhaps, not so oddly, on that unforgettable Tuesday my sense of reality shifted between Dante's 13th-century Inferno and our own 21st-century inferno. And I was stunned by the relevance of this more than 700-year-old literary work of art. Like most people I know, for weeks I was unable to work. After the unimaginable loss of life and the level of human suffering on the 11th, my attitude about pretty much everything, including being a writer, was, "So what? Who cares? What's the point?" In a writing class I taught at the UCLA Writer's Program in mid-October, one of my students perfectly articulated this state when she said to the other students and me, "As a novice it's hard enough to keep my momentum up for writing, but now I feel totally incapacitated." Around that time, a stricken Joan Didion said, on the Charlie Rose show, "I don't think any writer in America didn't feel the day it happened that everything they were working on was in some way irrelevant. And then you start finding ways in which to deepen your understanding of what you were doing -- it's a new level."

On September 11th, Steven Soderbergh's words, "Without art this world would be unlivable," took on an entirely new significance. At first I began to write in my journal -- my thoughts, fears, anxieties -- finding words to express each emotion I felt. It was through this process that I began to understand the true purpose of writing. It is above all else to develop a form of communion with our inner life. A way in which we know ourselves. What we think. What we feel. And by extension, it is how we communicate these thoughts and feelings to others. I began to see that there is more of an imperative for writing, indeed, for all the arts, than ever before. So, I have moved from the "so what" stance to an "as if" perspective. I want to live as if -- even with the horror we have known and continue to be threatened with -- writing is worthwhile because it gives us to ourselves, and then to each other. (Cathleen Rountree)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2005

    Write until it is Right!!!!!!

    Cathleen's book is the most essential writing companion one could own. After reading the book, I called Cathleen and now she is my Mentor Writing Coach. She is everything her book is and more. If you want the perfect companion on your desk, buy this book, read it and believe it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2002

    A roadmap for the writer's mind (and heart)

    This is by far the best guidebook for writing I have ever encountered. Not only does it give practical recommendations from an experienced and published writer on issues such as workspaces, writing time, pre-writing rituals, and etc., it also truly becomes a 'companion' in its discussion of the more spiritual and emotional issues that writers of all genres struggle with. Writing by its very nature is an isolating activity; the Writer's Mentor is the rare volume that lends a feeling of compassion and companionship, and Cathleen Rountree does a beautiful job of reassuring the reader that self-doubt and frustration are a part of writing, rather than reasons for discouragement. Through descriptions of her own personal experiences and those of other writers, Rountree reassures the aspiring that writing is by no means 'easy' even for the greatest of literary luminaries. Anyone at all interested in writing, no matter how experienced they are, can benefit from this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2002

    Mentor by my side

    Too bad Cathleen Rountree cannot clone herself to be by the side of every aspiring and experienced writer when we need reassurance and inspiration. But at least we have her book! I find The Writer's Mentor to be an inspiring companion filled not only with the author's extensive experience in the literary field, but with the shared experiences of other successful writers. The inspiration offered through movie references show Rountree's well honed multi-lens approach to the creative act of writing, guiding us all to pursue inspiration from the screen, in addition to other venues. The question answer format of this guide, as well as the suggestions at the end of each chapter, are appealing and indeed create an atmosphere of mentorship. I strongly recommend this book for all who seek an engaging 'read' about the craft, as well as a professional guide to writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2002

    Buy this Book!

    This book is more than a guide, it is a personal journey. I loved the format, with each chapter addressing a theme and ending with a movie section. Cathleen Rountree is a fantastic mentor because she is both a writer herself and has lived the struggles of the writing life, even in the course of writing this book. I felt like I had a true resource that would help me with isolation, structure, insecurity. There is much humor here, and much feeling. I truly feel like this book itself has become a mentor, a comfort, as it sits next to my computer. I recommend this book to anyone who is a writer, or wants to be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2002

    A Must for Writers

    Cathleen Rountree, The Writer's mentor, A guide to putting passion on paper This direct but friendly guide to the writer's practice is superbly organized and beautifully written. Rountree has balanced the practical with the inspirational. The structure of the book supports random browsing or a deliberate disciplined reading from cover to cover. This book asks meaningful questions that elicit your own solutions, and gives solid advise that helps create your own writing practice. The Writer's Mentor draws not only from Rountree's own experience but also incorporates the voices of many honored writers. This book is a must for the library of every aspiring and accomplished writer. --

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 25, 2010

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