Kelly's Picks: Write Like the Masters

Hone your own voice by studying the techniques of twenty-one master writers, including Hemingway, Melville, Wharton, and others. by Kelly Nickell
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Don’t be fooled by the title—Write Like the Masters isn’t a book about the art of imitation.

It’s a book about learning as much as you can about the writing styles of others so that you can consciously work—in an informed manner—to develop your own style.

Author William Cane provides fascinating insight into the rhetorical style of twenty-one great writers. And not only does he analyze their unique styles, he also shows you how to sample their signature techniques in your own work.

You’ll get an in-depth understanding of Stephen King’s suspenseful plot twists, Margaret’s Mitchell’s masterful use of internal monologue, and Ernest Hemingway’s penchant for direct, lean prose. For instance, did you know that:

Throughout his career Hemingway experimented with style and, like any professional writer, constantly learned new techniques. For example, his later writing has a more ornate sentence structure and delves more deeply into character than his early work. Despite these additional discoveries and experiments, however, the core Hemingway style persisted in most of his prose and today it is recognizable worldwide. When he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 it was “for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style.”

Click here to learn more about Hemingway’s sentence length and speed.

In an exclusive online interview, Cane, who has had a distinguished career as a professor of English at CUNY and Boston College, and is the author of international bestseller, The Art of Kissing, said he advises all writers to:

Forget what you learned in school. Writing is not a process. It is a product. It is a book. You need to look at the books that the great writers have written and dissect them. They contain all you need to know. (Of course, I exaggerate slightly. Writing certainly is a process on some level, since we all form ideas and then do first drafts and rewrite. But to focus on that is to waste your time and miss the point.) The point is that once you look at writing as the creation of a product, you’re more open to looking at the craftsmanship of other writers.

With Write Like the Masters, you’ll learn how to use the art of rhetoric to your advantage and open your writing up to a new world of possibilities.

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Write Like the Masters (Hardcover)

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