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The Writing Life Summary
Annie Dillard

Everything you need to understand or teach The Writing Life by Annie Dillard.

  • The Writing Life Summary & Study Guide
  • 30 The Writing Life Lessons
  • 20 Activities
  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
  • 20 Essay Questions
  • Pre-Made Tests and Quizzes
  • ...and more

The Writing Life Summary

Plot Summary

This short book by renowned novelist Annie Dillard explores her perspective on the practice of being a writer. Commentary on the craft of writing is juxtaposed with narration of the author's personal experiences, all of which are grounded in the extended metaphor that creating a literary work is, essentially, following "a line of words." The themes of the book are also grounded in that metaphor, specifically in their investigation of the contrasting natures of that line and the simultaneous effortlessness and hard work that go into following it truthfully.

In the first chapter, the author begins with a statement of her central thematic perspective - that a piece of writing is a "line of words" that a writer follows to its natural, perhaps unexpected, end. She then, in considerable and sometimes harsh detail, describes a key component of that process: the cutting away of words, scenes, chapters, characters...

(read more from the Study Guide)

Study Pack

The The Writing Life Study Pack contains about 29 pages of study material in 5 products, including:

The Writing Life Study Guide

Lesson Plan

All teaching products sold separately.

The Writing Life Lesson Plans contain 128 pages of teaching material, including:

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