Letters to a Young Writer

Customer Reviews

31 Ratings

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5 stars
By eclectic reader on 05-23-17

Enjoyable comments on being a writer

The author offers some very personal insights about what it means to be a writer. Some are simply good advice about what it takes to be a good person. From time to time i toy with doing a little writing but can't truly call myself a writer. I found this book inspired me.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Timothy Hart on 05-02-17

Cutting

A well of crisp and sharp advice conveyed with perfectly ordered words.
Mr. McCann is also one of the few writers who can perfectly narrate his own works. I'll assume that if you are an audiobook listener and care about what he has to say on writing (Is that a contradiction?) you have already listened to his works. But if not, you must get Thirteen Ways of Looking.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Iris Pereyra on 04-19-17

A Powerful and Moving Manifesto for Young Writers

These fifty-two essays are short in length but full on passion and even if you are not are a writer or plan on becoming one, McCann's zeal for his craft is so contagious that if you are anything like me, you would find yourself inspired by how beautifully and intimately he describes it.

Aspiring young writers will also find quite a bit of advice. This ranges from the purely utilitarian and practical ("Write wherever you feel comfortable","Read Aloud,"Carry a notebook), to the more essential ("To MFA or Not to MFA", "Language and Plot", "How to get an agent"). Still, the author's goal seems to be to sustain his readers aspirations and inspirations, rather than to provide a laundry list on how to become a successful writer.

Although I am obviously not part of the book's intended audience, I still found quite a few helpful philosophical nuggets and practical advice: There are moments when you just have to rely on your instincts; In life, just like in writing, there are no manuals and sometimes rules have to be broken and last but certainly not least, don't be a dick!

As for the author's audio narration, what can I say? There's something about the expression "Just keep your arse on the chair" that sounds much better with an Irish accent. Pure perfection.

A moving, inspiring and powerful manifesto. Highly Recommended.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Brandon Sholund on 08-01-18

Many topics on many subjects for many writers

This is a book for writers of all levels. In a series of 55 letters Colum McCann covers both the craft and the industry of writing. Topics such as grammer, agents, use of language, characters and plots are covered with a peppering of motivational insiration. Most of these topics have been covered elsewhere and in more depth, but McCann is a writer and it shows. The letters that form the book are both insightful and entertaining. I wrote more as a hobby than a passion but I found a lot in this book to use. It is equal to Stephen Kings excellent book 'On writing' although the book is more scholarly. The narration comes off more like a series of lectures than a memoir and is focused on the craft. McCann rarely references his own work but still manages to prove deeply into the subject. An excellent book on writing that will be useful to writers for years to come.

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5 out of 5 stars
By EP on 06-23-18

Incredible!

Along with great writing advice, this book is therapy for the writer's soul. I absolutely loved it.

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5 out of 5 stars
By W on 08-19-17

Truth and rage

so generously shared.

("11 words remaining" demanded, unsaid, unnecessary, unwanted but nevertheless required in order to say - "truth and glorious honesty so generously shared.) WM

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