The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction - Stephen Koch
And now I have finally actually finished the book that has taken a YEAR to finish reading, due to my magpie sensibilities and having lost it for three months in my glove compartment under a big 'ol pile of shit paperwork, re-starting it, then re-starting it AGAIN so that I could make annotations and underline a good 1/4 of the books itself in pen. And now it finally comes to this.

Koch seems like a perfect teacher in many respects - he is great at motivation, and he doesn't just rely on his own point of view on writing, he brings the words of well-known and well respected writers into the party like it's a rotating door. This fact is mainly a plus, because Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King (which is odd to hear the words from his awe-inspiring "On Writing" here, in every chapter) are great at explaining the intricacies of the art, but it can get to be a bit much. And then comes in Toni Morrison.

When the point of what to do or read to inspire someone to write is brought up, the seemingly benign advice comes about, from the mouth of Morrison, to read a passage or two from the Bible, "to feel the perfect poetry of writing" (or some such... shit.). Now, I have heard that a writer should read poetry, to feel the sort of free-ranging motion of language as though each letter and word is paint on canvas, but can I be frank in my assertion, from what I had to read as a child and what I've heard quoted since, that the Bible is the biggest turd of "poetic" language? Morrison, you're Christian; we get it, you're holier than thou and there ain't nobody who praises the Lord quite like you, and I can see that there is a certain stigma attached to saying that there's anything bigger or better than the Good Book, but a book of poetic language the Bible ain't.

MOST of Koch's advice makes sense and can be revelatory at its best, but this religious-truckling really stuck in my craw. If I had not so thoroughly enjoyed most of this book and if I had not marked it up so much, I might have sent this thing to a three or a two star, especially when coupled with some of his eventual bias that certainly does pop up later in the book.

This book is also a good piece of inspiration for non-fiction writers or memoir writers out there ( I cannot understand the mindset of a person who sets out to write just memoirs, but whatever makes you happy, I guess, as long as it doesn't involve farm animals and lube.)

As it stands, I like most of this book, but do I hold it in as high as a regard as "On Writing"? Well, no; it's inspiring, but I would recommend it for an intermediate writer or just one who's been stuck at a fork in the road for a while now. It may just be the kick int he pants that you've been looking for - but if you've never put pen to paper with serious intent towards a complete work of some kind, then I would recommend On Writing as the real fire of Prometheus needed to start.