This marvelous guide begins where other books on writing and the writing life leave off. Delving deep into the creative process, Bret Lott reveals truths we scarcely realized we needed to know but without which we as writers will soon lose our way. In ten intimate essays based on his own experiences and on the seasoned wisdom of writers including Eudora Welty, E. B. White, Henry David Thoreau, Henry James, and John Gardner, Lott explores such topics as
- why write? why keep writing?
- the importance of simple words
- the finer points of character detail
- narrative and the passage of time
- the pitfalls of technique
- making a plan-and letting it go
- risking failure-and reaping the benefits
- Accepting rejection
Writers travel alone, but Bret Lott's book makes the journey less lonely and infinitely more rewarding. Before We Get Started will help you make your work as good as it can be: "Pay attention recklessly. Strain to see through the window of your own artistic consciousness in the exhilarating knowledge that there is no path to the waterfall, and there are a million paths to the waterfall, and there is, too, only one path: yours.
About the Author
BRET LOTT is the author of the novels A Song I Knew by Heart, Jewel (an Oprah's Book Club Selection in 1999), Reed's Beach, A Stranger's House, The Man Who Owned Vermont, and The Hunt Club; the story collections How to Get Home and A Dream of Old Leaves; and the memoir Fathers, Sons, and Brothers. He lives with his wife in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was recently named editor of The Southern Review.
“Learning to write . . . is a desperately idiosyncratic, eccentric, single-souled, lifelong quest.”
–BRET LOTT from Before We Get Started