Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

Paperback

$14.98 $16.00 Save 6% Current price is $14.98, Original price is $16. You Save 6%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, August 28

Overview

Twenty of America's bestselling authors share tricks, tips, and secrets of the successful writing life.

Anyone who's ever sat down to write a novel or even a story knows how exhilarating and heartbreaking writing can be. So what makes writers stick with it? In Why We Write, twenty well-known authors candidly share what keeps them going and what they love most—and least—about their vocation.

Contributing authors include:
Isabel Allende
David Baldacci
Jennifer Egan
James Frey
Sue Grafton
Sara Gruen
Kathryn Harrison
Gish Jen
Sebastian Junger
Mary Karr
Michael Lewis
Armistead Maupin
Terry McMillan
Rick Moody
Walter Mosley
Susan Orlean
Ann Patchett
Jodi Picoult
Jane Smiley
Meg Wolitzer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452298156
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/29/2013
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 525,888
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.97(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Meredith Maran, a passionate reader and writer of memoirs, is the author of thirteen nonfiction books and the acclaimed novel A Theory Of Small Earthquakes. Meredith also writes book reviews, essays, and features for newspapers and magazines including People, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Salon.com, and More. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, Meredith lives in a restored historic bungalow in Los Angeles, and on Twitter at @meredithmaran. Her next memoir is about starting over in Los Angeles.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“In the beginning, it was that sense of losing time. Now…I have the sense that I can biff the world a bit. I can exert a force.” —Michael Lewis

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
CodyTheReader More than 1 year ago
This review is cross-posted at www.codyhamrick.com Why We Write by Meredith Maran is a collection of twenty essays written by published novelist on the topic of why (and sometimes how) each author goes about the crafting fiction. Each essay is preceded by an introduction of the author and a “Vitals” bulleted list of highlights about the author (born, education, where they live, complete list of works, etc.). Each essay concludes with a “Wisdom for Writers” section, a bulleted list of take-away points the author made in his or her essay. A portion of the proceeds of the book are given to support 826 National, a youth literacy program. The author pulled together a diverse collection of authors. Some of them include Sue Grafton, David Baldacci, Gish Jen, Armistead Maupin, and Terry McMillan. Not only are they diverse in gender, sexual orientation, culture, and race, but they are exist on various points of the “literary vs entertainment” spectrum of publishing. This topic comes up in a number of the essays. Some authors embrace the literary or entertainment camp to which they belong, others take the opportunity to bash the opposing side. More than a few authors dismiss this continuum as a marketing or hegemonic device designed to pander to a certain demographic. The later essays were the most interesting. While the book presented a diverse collection of viewpoints, I couldn’t help but notice that certain genres were left out. There were authors from “mainstream” literature as well as the mystery and thriller genres. However, there were no authors of speculative or YA books. Why We Write was published in 2013, during the time when these genres were rapidly gaining in both popularity and recognition as quote-unquote “serious” forms of literature. It could be that the author reached out to some of these authors and they weren't interested or couldn't fit a contribution into their schedules. However, I can’t help but feel that including authors from these backgrounds would further round out the book and the discussion of why individuals feel compelled to write fiction. The twenty authors in the book state a wide array of reasons behind why they do what they do. However, one central theme crops up in each of their responses: Writing sucks, but not writing sucks worse; one never feels that a piece is completely finished, but having written is a wonderful feeling. As someone who dabbles in writing and is always looking for more time to complete larger projects, I completely agree. And, in it’s own dark way, it is comforting to read twenty writers state that they belong in the same mental hell that is being a writing human. I think I’ll keep the book on my desk for inspiration and comfort the next time I find myself banging my head against the wall when writing gets difficult.
DoranneLongPTMS More than 1 year ago
Fascinating to read about famous authors with their joys and struggles. I was astounded at some of the common themes, the life-long journeys of putting pen to paper, the insecurities of some of the most famous, even when millions of their books sold. One of my favorite finds in the book from  Michael Lewis: (No website, Facebook page, or Twitter account. "I have enough to do.")
MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
I read this book rather quickly. Some books about writing can be too academic for my taste. However, this one presented the information in a format that was fun and easy to get through. These types of compilations often feature mostly authors I don’t know. This book included a number of my favorites. As a writer myself, it is always fascinating to peek into the minds and experiences of successful authors. Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel “To Be Chosen”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago