Dear Literary Ladies.
It’s always fascinating to discover how those of you who succeeded so brilliantly went about the basics of the practice of writing. Can you share some quick insights on how you developed plots and characters?
My methods of work are very simple & soon told. My head is my study, & there I keep the various plans of stories for years some times, letting them grow as they will till I am ready to put them on paper. Then it is quick work, as chapters go down word for word as they stand in my mind . . . I never copy, since I find by experience that the work I spend the least time upon is best liked by critics & readers. Read More→
This article is part of a series of posts on Work A Story of Experience as found on the Louisa May Alcott is My Passion blog. To read all the posts associated with this book, explore this link.
“…Work is an expression of Alcott’s feminist principles and a major effort toward synthesizing in popular, readable form the broad set of beliefs encompassing family, education, suffrage, labor and the moral reform of social life that defined feminist ideology in the nineteenth century.” (from Critical Essays on Louisa May Alcott edited by Madeleine Stern) Read More→
How do writers get ideas? — that’s a question often asked of published authors, but which defies easy answer, if it can be answered at all. Most often, ideas seem to find you, not the other way around. Of course, something you see, hear, or read can ignite sparks of inspiration, but the day-to-day work habits you develop can fuel the inception and development of ideas.
Here, Louisa May Alcott, Willa Cather, and Madeleine L’Engle share a common technique: they consciously allowed seedlings of ideas to blossom in their heads before setting them to paper. Read More→
Historical fiction is a risky genre, especially if the author is tackling a beloved American classic. Geraldine Brooks presents a bold and provocative story centered on the “shadow” character of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Mr. March, in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, March (Penguin Books, 2005).
She takes that risk a step further by fleshing out Marmee, the quintessential mother figure. March succeeds in taking characters of mythical proportion and bringing them down to earth, turning them into living, breathing people, vastly more interesting, with decided with feet of clay.
Reader beware: you must be willing to set aside any pre-conceived, black and white notions about Little Women in order to appreciate March. Brooks places you in a decidedly gray-shaded world which is not for the faint of heart. Read More→
Louisa May Alcott, best known for the Little Women series, was a fountain of wisdom and comfort. She had her share of struggles throughout her 56-year life — poverty, ill-health, and loss.
Though Alcott had already produced the well-received Moods (the first novel under her real name), Work: A Story of Experience, Hospital Sketches, and countless small pieces under her own name, it was Little Women that really put her on the map. Its unexpected success gave her and her family the financial security they had longed for.
Yet though it all she managed to see what was sweet in life and took greatest comfort in the love and companionship of her immediate family. Here are some of the best-loved Louisa May Alcott quotes. Read More→