Non-fiction Monday: Live Writing by Ralph Fletcher

Live Writing: Breathing Life into Your Words by Ralph Fletcher

So if you have a student or a child who is serious about writing, I cannot think of a better gift than to give the gift of these books by Ralph Fletcher.  My posts this month have focused on these little gems. Today is the final installment. 

Live Writing is broken up into practical chapters. As always, Fletcher begins with a personal vignette making a great analogy to writing.  In chapter one the reader discovers that Fletcher is not so great with putting items together.  His father-in-law gives him a tool box and tools, telling him that he’ll show him how to use them and “it’s not rocket science.”  And according to the author, it works.

This leads him to thinking about how writers have tools and a toolbox to create ‘live writing” that writing that has a “current running through it.”

The second chapter focuses on reading like a writer.  (This reminded me that I have a terrific book, Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose.)  I broke it out to reread this weekend.  Reading like a writer reminds us that we read and then re-read as detectives, asking ourselves “how did the author do that?”

Wondering about the chapters in this book?  I thought of it as a breathing exercise:

Breath in: Characters
Breath out:  “They are the most important thing in your story.”

Breath in: Voice
Breath out: “Author’s personality comes through with words.”

Breath in: Conflict
Breath out:  “Trouble is necessary in every story. ..Create the heat of the story.”

Breath in: Setting
Breath out:  It’s the missing ingredient to a story sometimes.

Breath in: Leads
Breath out:  “Set the tone of the story, establish the rhythm  and the energy for what will follow.”

Breath in: Some important things
Breath out:  “Write low on the food chain. Writers take great delight in the particulars.”

Watch for a follow-up post about our day with Ralph Fletcher this week.

Non-Fiction Monday is hosted at 100 Scope Notes who has deemed it a non-traditional nonfiction review day. And guess what, you will get to vote on your favorite post on Tuesday, May 25.

Happy Reading. Happy Monday.



2 thoughts on “Non-fiction Monday: Live Writing by Ralph Fletcher

  1. Jone, thanks for passing along the good advice of Ralph Fletcher and turning it into a breathing exercise. I’m trying it and it kind of makes me giggle, but then I’m not the best yoga student either. I will continue to try (and hey a few giggles at my laptop can’t hurt, right?)

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