Sunday, May 5, 2019

Book Review: Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you are a writer you might like this book. Quite a bit of it is mundane; it is pretty repetitive. But, there is some insight into the mind of a great writer.

Page 115 – 116: “Not that it is necessary to be remembered but there is one purpose in writing that I can see, beyond simply doing it interestingly. It is the duty of the writer to lift up, to extend, to encourage. If the written word has contributed anything at all to our developing species and our half developed culture, it is this” Great writing has been a staff to lean on, a mother to consult, a wisdom to pick up stumbling folly, a strength in weakness and a courage to support sick cowardice.”

Page 124: “…novel has been falling before the onslaught of non-fiction.” This is on July 9, 1951. Even then the novel was thought to be dead. Look at it now.

Also, the man was seriously into his pencils! It's no different today. We are picky about our computers and software. He mentions on July 2, 1951 that he went through three dozen pencils since June 11th. That's about 2 pencils per working day! That's a lot of writing!

One other observation: unlike so many of today's writers, especially but not confined to self-published writers, there's no mention of cover design, book blurbs, marketing strategy, book giveaways to garner reviews... his sole focus during the 10 months of writing was on the story.



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