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For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called "transcendent" by The New York Times, and her books have been included in "best of" lists compiled by Time m For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called "transcendent" by The New York Times, and her books have been included in "best of" lists compiled by Time magazine and NPR. In this long-anticipated guide to the craft of writing, Block offers an intimate glimpse of an artist at work and a detailed guide to help readers channel their own experiences and creative energy. Sharing visceral insights and powerful exercises, she gently guides us down the write-to-heal path, revealing at each turn the intrinsic value of channeling our experiences onto the page. Named for the painting by Frida Kahlo, who famously transformed her own personal suffering into art, The Thorn Necklace offers lessons on life, love, and the creative process.


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For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called "transcendent" by The New York Times, and her books have been included in "best of" lists compiled by Time m For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called "transcendent" by The New York Times, and her books have been included in "best of" lists compiled by Time magazine and NPR. In this long-anticipated guide to the craft of writing, Block offers an intimate glimpse of an artist at work and a detailed guide to help readers channel their own experiences and creative energy. Sharing visceral insights and powerful exercises, she gently guides us down the write-to-heal path, revealing at each turn the intrinsic value of channeling our experiences onto the page. Named for the painting by Frida Kahlo, who famously transformed her own personal suffering into art, The Thorn Necklace offers lessons on life, love, and the creative process.

30 review for The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process

  1. 4 out of 5

    Catfairy Books

    I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Catfairy's First Thoughts <3 When this came to me in the mail, I was so deliriously happy because this book could not have come at a better time! I fell completely in love with this book in every way because this is the exact time in my life where I am in need of this book. I just turned 34 this year and this is the year that I feel like I need to act now o I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Catfairy's First Thoughts <3 When this came to me in the mail, I was so deliriously happy because this book could not have come at a better time! I fell completely in love with this book in every way because this is the exact time in my life where I am in need of this book. I just turned 34 this year and this is the year that I feel like I need to act now on my writing or I never will. Now I know that being 34-years-old is not a death sentence and I could act on my writing whenever I want to act on it but I have been putting so many excuses and limitations to my writing. This book helps me realize that the time is NOW. And I cannot honestly ask for a better person to inspire me to continue my writing and be consistent with it than none other than my favorite author ever! Since I was sixteen-years-old FLB has been like a muse, an inspiration, and her books have been like the security blanket that has gotten me through difficult times in high school, college, and the dreaded early 20's where I was trying to figure out who I was. After reading The Thorn Necklace not only did I recognize how much I needed to make my writing a priority but how I missed FLB so FREAKING much! I have to admit, that I haven't been reading much of FLB in my 30's and I realized how much I need her words for the comfort and magic that it used to always bring to my life.  Catnopsis "I AM A WRITER. They're just four simple words. Yet many of us have difficulty saying them, no matter where we are in our creative journeys." -Grant Faulkner FLB's book is based on 12 questions to help you figure out the trajectory of your story. The questions are centered on all aspects of the character, the setting, the style, the protagonists, the antagonists, and the theme. These exercises make an amazing outline to get a story going and it really encompasses every detail to bring your story to life. Not only is this book a writing guide, it's also a memoir. She intertwines her life story with writing exercises. The author writes about her life in such a deeply personal and heartbreakingly honest way that all I wanted to do the entire time was give her a hug! Also, I was so pleasantly surprised to see that so many aspects of her most iconic books such as Weetzie Bat are inspired by her real life and knowing this made me so giddy! The Thorn Necklace actually feels like you are taking a writing class with FLB and I have taken a few online writing classes with FLB and even got the opportunity to meet her for a writing workshop back in February of 2009! I have been so ridiculously lucky to meet my ultimate muse and I am so happy that I have this book in my life because now I feel like I am taking FLB with me wherever I go. Which Dawson Character Would Read This Book... Jen Lindley would totally read this book! She totally has that Weetzie Spirit inside her that is full of spunkiness, sweet sadness, and spontaneity! I feel like Ms. Lindley's tortured soul would also completely relate to the pain that FLB went through with all the men in her life since Jen has quite a past. Catfairy's Pop Cultural References DUDE! I can’t believe that she got to hang out with Joseph Gordon Levitt and that she borrowed his actual jacket! Swooooon! Besides my husband, this guy is my ultimate Secret Agent Lover Man! FLB's Writing “With no formal training, I’d pieced my debut book together from snippets of fairy tales, Greek myths, rock and punk lyrics, modernist poetry and the Latin American magical realism I’d read as if I were eating guava pastries from the Tropicana Bakery in Sunset Boulevard in LA.” -FLB FLB's writing style is the reason why she is my favorite author! One of the things that I absolutely adore about FLB is her use of setting and how the setting is like another character in the book. When she writes about the magical like Shangri La based off of LA, it’s like you just want to be a part of that world because everything around Weetzie just seems to pop out like a Romero Britto painting! FLB's writing is poetic and lush. Her writing has the ability to believe in yourself again and to accept your eccentricities. After I read a book by FLB I always appreciate the beauty around me and notice it's magical qualities. FLB's writing is like an Amelie movie only instead of Paris it's set in a surreal Los Angeles filled with starlets, glittering palm trees, pink Cadillacs, pink Harlequin sunglasses, and kisses that taste like apple pie a la mode... (BTW...when is the Weetzie Bat movie coming out?! Fox Searchlight you need to get with it! We need a Weetzie Bat revolution now more than ever!) Catfairy's Final Thoughts I find it insane that this is a writer that I have idolized and looked up to for eighteen years! I always idolized her life and felt that she was leading the perfect life. It brings me so much comfort to know that the pain that she wrote about through her writing was what got me through high school, college, and adulthood. Now come to think of it this book has taught me that everyone is struggling with some kind of pain and that it is our responsibility to take that pain and try to make it into something beautiful. We need to find ways of expressing that pain to get ourselves out of auto-pilot mode! The Thorn Necklace has taught me that the pain that we go through can be turned into something magical and can possibly save someone's life...like mine. <3 Read my review of The Thorn Necklace to see my pictures, gifs, and my book playlist for this book! http://catfairybooks.com/the-thorn-ne...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This review is a bit biased, because Francesca Lia Block is one of my favorite authors, and I've been waiting for this book ever since I first heard it was in the works. With that said, "The Thorn Necklace" is a satisfying and inspiring memoir/writing guide. It's subtitled "Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process" and Francesca Lia Block shares the pain and beauty of her own life, and how it has been, and always is, released and healed through her writing. In revealing her personal stru This review is a bit biased, because Francesca Lia Block is one of my favorite authors, and I've been waiting for this book ever since I first heard it was in the works. With that said, "The Thorn Necklace" is a satisfying and inspiring memoir/writing guide. It's subtitled "Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process" and Francesca Lia Block shares the pain and beauty of her own life, and how it has been, and always is, released and healed through her writing. In revealing her personal struggles, issues, relationships and emotions, she connects with her readers and inspires the use of writing and creativity to aid in personal growth, healing and artistic expression. She shares her 12 Questions to help with aspects of writing such as character, plot and structure. They cover: 1) Character's Gift; 2) Character's Flaw; 3) Character's Want; 4) Character's Need; 5) Character's Arc; 6) Antagonist(s); 7) Setting; 8) Style; 9) Crisis; 10) Climax; 11) Theme; and 12) Resolution. Throughout, she shows how these questions relate to classics, such as Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights," as well as real-life "story" arcs of famed people like David Bowie and Frida Kahlo, whose painting, "The Thorn Necklace" inspired the book's title. In the end, she applies her 12 Questions to her most well-known character, "Weetzie Bat," as well as her own life. It's a wonderful blend of recollection and reflection; instruction and guidance, that I'll re-read again and again, keeping in mind her wise, caring and generous thoughts and words, as I continue to work on my own writing projects.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liaken

    I think I'm not the target audience for this book. I'm reminded of when I changed my focus as a graduate student, because the fad was gothic literature. I didn't want to study gothic literature. All the helmets falling out of the sky, all the swooning, all the frothing emotions, all the extremity of everything---it wasn't for me. I get, of course, that there are people who really dig this type of thing. I'm not one of them. Keep in mind that I don't have any other knowledge of this author other I think I'm not the target audience for this book. I'm reminded of when I changed my focus as a graduate student, because the fad was gothic literature. I didn't want to study gothic literature. All the helmets falling out of the sky, all the swooning, all the frothing emotions, all the extremity of everything---it wasn't for me. I get, of course, that there are people who really dig this type of thing. I'm not one of them. Keep in mind that I don't have any other knowledge of this author other than this book: she isn't someone I've read before, because her works haven't ever been on my radar. I didn't know who I was going to meet in this book. I didn't know what I was in for. When I read her introduction where she gives the longest brag I've yet read about why she is a worshipped author, I found myself aghast that she would be so excessive in her own praise. But then, you see, I wasn't rejoicing with her. I was meeting her for the first time. And it wasn't a good impression. This book is purportedly about writing, about the creative process. While there are short bits scattered throughout with musings about aspects of writing, I wouldn't say that this book is actually about writing. Instead, it is a memoir, a litany, if you will (for there are many, many lists in this book, many of them about clothing), of many experiences that demonstrate her patterns in her relationships and so forth. That Secret Man reading all the things wasn't a metaphor struck me as an example of dangerous codependency. But there isn't really any reflection, any depth of thought, any philosophy in this book. It's mostly just a reliving of one thing after another. Perhaps if there had been some thought and reflection, the book would have come off differently. Perhaps I would have gained something from her. But she doesn't seem to want me to think as I read. She seems only to want me to feel. And feel and feel and feel. But that doesn't do it for me. I'm not in it for the feels. Maybe to those who are fans of her work, maybe this book feels very intimate to them. At any rate, there's my one star review. Ah well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ocean

    the memoir part was interesting. it kinda confirmed my suspicions that FLB is fixated on beauty standards to the detriment of many other aspects of her life. there was a LOT of recounting of comments people have made about her appearance--as a thin, cis white woman who meets conventional beauty standards--and it's kinda like, ooookay. but it was also fascinating and beautiful and ethereal and all the things that make her such a captivating writer. I mostly skipped the writing advice part, it's pr the memoir part was interesting. it kinda confirmed my suspicions that FLB is fixated on beauty standards to the detriment of many other aspects of her life. there was a LOT of recounting of comments people have made about her appearance--as a thin, cis white woman who meets conventional beauty standards--and it's kinda like, ooookay. but it was also fascinating and beautiful and ethereal and all the things that make her such a captivating writer. I mostly skipped the writing advice part, it's pretty basic and kinda jarring. I wish this was just a straight-up memoir about healing through writing without the instructional part of it. there'll be, like, this totally fascinating story and then it will be like, "and now about plot! let's look at the plot of 'to kill a mockingbird'"

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    This was a fascinating joy to read. This first time through it, I allowed myself to binge on the engaging language; I’m pretty much unable to approach any new FLB book but this way. This one, however, I will be returning to for a number of reasons. In the midst of a beautiful, honest memoir, FLV weaves a really smart guide to writing and analyzing fiction—which doubles as a guide to analyzing your life through fiction and writing. Such a smart, smart book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Dreyer

    I was thrilled to hear that this book was coming out, being a fan of FLB's early (Weetzie Bat) books, and a great fan of her teaching, too. She is one of the kindest, most positive and genuine writing teachers I've known. The book is fascinating on many levels, especially the memoir of her youth, running around Berkeley with fellow punk friends. Her detailed descriptions of the clothes and shoes they wore (lots of designer name dropping), drunk late nights and early romances, reminded me what I I was thrilled to hear that this book was coming out, being a fan of FLB's early (Weetzie Bat) books, and a great fan of her teaching, too. She is one of the kindest, most positive and genuine writing teachers I've known. The book is fascinating on many levels, especially the memoir of her youth, running around Berkeley with fellow punk friends. Her detailed descriptions of the clothes and shoes they wore (lots of designer name dropping), drunk late nights and early romances, reminded me what I like best in her fiction: a pop culture romp with a depths of feeling and characters who feel real. The most affecting aspects of the novel have to do with her search for love and affirmation by men, starting with her father who she felt objectified her and compared her negatively to her classically beautiful mother. Boyfriends, an ex husband (father of her two kids), and finally, "Secret Man," who seems to be a feng shui master and helps her get rid of a ton of her stuff and organize her space so she can write again, with more meaning. The writer's guide portions of the book didn't seem to be integrated well enough with the rest. This felt forced to me, though the material itself ( including the "Twelve Questions" that she asks herself about each book she works on, and that she models with classic books like To Kill a Mockingbird) is very valuable. I didn't feel that there was a strong enough connection between the two parts of the book, and this is the reason I gave this 4 stars not 5. The memoir resonated strongly with me and I will definitely revisit it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I found the 12 questions as applied to you as the reader and a writer to be illuminating and a wonderful exercise. Also, FLB's prose is always engaging and beautiful. I found the 12 questions as applied to you as the reader and a writer to be illuminating and a wonderful exercise. Also, FLB's prose is always engaging and beautiful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Like every west coast girl I know of a certain age, I rolled DEEP in FLB's punk Los Angeles fairy tales. Her books influenced my decision to move there. I've grown out of her actual stories, which have plots so simple as to now seem trivial, but I could still read her descriptions of clothing and food all day. And that's when this book is best - the memoir parts. The writing coaching parts fell totally flat for me. The chapter where she gets rid of seemingly more than half of her belongings was Like every west coast girl I know of a certain age, I rolled DEEP in FLB's punk Los Angeles fairy tales. Her books influenced my decision to move there. I've grown out of her actual stories, which have plots so simple as to now seem trivial, but I could still read her descriptions of clothing and food all day. And that's when this book is best - the memoir parts. The writing coaching parts fell totally flat for me. The chapter where she gets rid of seemingly more than half of her belongings was like a drug to me. (I live with a collector who comes from a line of Stage 1 hoarders.) The pseudonyms she chooses for the people in her life are very silly. Hearing a grownup refer to her partner exclusively as My Secret Man, or Secret Man, made me cringe. Oh! And!! The verrry brief paragraph about David Bowie's sex with underage girls (FLB is obsessed with Bowie), is enraging. Fully enraging. It amounts to "I guess I wouldn't want my teenage daughter to have sex with a 30-year-old, but it was a different time and I would prob have done it, and I bet he smelled amazing, can you imagine how he must have looked while committing statutory rape, yum." And yet, I stayed up past my bedtime two nights in a row to finish it. So clearly at least some of the old magic(k) still works on me. Except for the Bowie parts. If you love him, say you know he fucked up and you have made peace with it and love him still. Don't write off what he did as unimportant just because it didn't change your mind.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)

    I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Perseus Books and Da Capo Press. I fell in love with Francesca Lia Block’s Dangerous Angels books in college, and they’re still among my favorites. I seem to have more writers all the time whose books I’ll read no matter the subject, but Block has long been one of them. She’s such a beautiful, atmospheric writer with a head full of fairies and mythology. Trigger warnings: death, severe illness, cancer, eating disorders, anorexia. Th I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Perseus Books and Da Capo Press. I fell in love with Francesca Lia Block’s Dangerous Angels books in college, and they’re still among my favorites. I seem to have more writers all the time whose books I’ll read no matter the subject, but Block has long been one of them. She’s such a beautiful, atmospheric writer with a head full of fairies and mythology. Trigger warnings: death, severe illness, cancer, eating disorders, anorexia. The Thorn Necklace is part memoir and part writing guide. From growing up in Los Angeles and going to punk rock shows to battling anorexia and surviving her father’s death with cancer, Block records her life in a series of seductive muses and glam outfits. Through it all, she turned to writing to make it through, and now she’s sharing her writing advice and strategies with her readers. There’s something of a split in this book’s agenda between stories about Block’s life and sets of writing exercises and examples, and I’m not sure they ever fully come together. On the one hand, I can see the connection because writing has been a constant throughout her life, and it makes sense to frame the story around something that is always there for her. On the other, the actual writing advice seems at odds with the rest of her storytelling. It’s a series of concepts applied to a handful of titles in popular fiction, such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Lolita. I haven’t read a lot of writing guides, but the advice seemed fairly standard to me, and I was tempted to skim those sections. If there’s an overall message though, it’s not to give up on yourself and your story. Even if it’s never published or popular or bestselling, there’s value in telling it. Again, I don’t know how that compares to other writing guides, but Block’s faith in her readers is reassuring. The stories of her life were easily my favorite parts. I don’t read a lot of memoirs written by famous people, first because they’re usually not very well-written, and second because they tend not to do the important social/cultural work that really good memoirs do. It’s not enough to write about your life; you have to make it mean something. Block has already proven herself a wonderful and prolific writer though, and her descriptions of life in glamorous and grungy Los Angeles seem straight out of one of her novels. It was fascinating to see how much overlap there is between her life and her stories. She says that Weetzie has always been her true muse, and I have no difficulty believing it. I think fans of her novels will appreciate it most. There are maybe a few too many descriptions of outfits (some including long lists), but again, I can kind of see why. We see our lives through different filters, mine through books and music, and Block’s through writing and clothing. I’m not sure we could tell our stories without them. From her poetry collection, How to (Un)Cage a Girl, I knew Block hadn’t had the easiest life, and she handles a number of serious issues with grace in her memoir. I cried a few times over her father’s death and Block’s mourning process, which in some ways is never really over. The real tragedy of the story is her self-destructive search for a fulfilling relationship though. This has always been a difficult concept for me to understand because I’ve never minded being alone. (Then again, I have a full support system in my family/friends.) But Block is unflinching in her descriptions of her experiences, and she never fails to take full responsibility for her mistakes, which ultimately makes her a very sympathetic character in her own story. I’m so happy that she’s managed to find love and stability in My (Her) Secret Agent Lover Man, just like Weetzie. While this doesn’t have the magic of her novels for me, I’m happy to feel like I know her a little better. I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I've been assigned an enormous amount of guidebooks in writing classes, but nothing has come close to Francesca Lia Block's "The Thorn Necklace." I love this book, not only because I'm a devotee-an eternal worshiper at her fictional house of magic and love-but because I'm constantly searching for established writers who don't belittle my experience, approach, style, etc. I despise Zinsser's "On Writing Well"; Strunk's "Elements of Style" is boring AF; every year I have to read Lamott's advice in I've been assigned an enormous amount of guidebooks in writing classes, but nothing has come close to Francesca Lia Block's "The Thorn Necklace." I love this book, not only because I'm a devotee-an eternal worshiper at her fictional house of magic and love-but because I'm constantly searching for established writers who don't belittle my experience, approach, style, etc. I despise Zinsser's "On Writing Well"; Strunk's "Elements of Style" is boring AF; every year I have to read Lamott's advice in "Bird by Bird" I become more aware of how dated it feels for me; Francine Prose's "Reading Like a Writer" is a lone favorite but too short. If you're looking for a grammar-police, get-published-now type of guide, this isn't the book for you. "Thorn Necklace" is a study on self-love and self-care for any writer, passionate practitioners and occasional dabblers alike. There's a deep sense of awareness in Francesca's advice; she's always recognizing different creative processes and experiences juxtapose her life and career. The core of this book is in realizing that through writing, our experiences can be acknowledged and, potentially, healed to better ourselves and our practice. A slight trigger warning for some readers: as a memoir, Francesca writes extensively in here about her life with eating disorders, depression, cancer, death, chronic illnesses, intense heartbreak. Also, I highly recommend reading each chapter in order. Unlike other guides where you can skip around to find exact answers, "Thorn Necklace" is a journey that unfolds and illuminates like an orchid. If you're in need of immediate advice, there are really beautiful, simple exercises at the end of each chapter and a full chapter before the epilogue dedicated to writing advice. But IMO "Thorn Necklace" is best served in full, with close reading and emotional attachment to both the content and the author. Francesca's art is a gift in "Thorn Necklace," much like Frida Kahlo's art has transformed into gifts for generations to follow. I know I will cherish this book and her advice for my entire life, taking what I've learned from reading her wisdom and applying it to all areas of my life, not just writing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lanette Sweeney

    I picked up this book because I have been asked to write a sermon about healing grief through writing -- but the book did not address that at all. It was, rather, an odd memoir with writing advice sprinkled throughout. This book presents an out-0f-order reflection on the author's life and troubles interspersed with writing advice from a novelist with a troubled romantic past. She tells stories from her own life -- about miscarrying twice, about Hollywood, about online dating and her search for e I picked up this book because I have been asked to write a sermon about healing grief through writing -- but the book did not address that at all. It was, rather, an odd memoir with writing advice sprinkled throughout. This book presents an out-0f-order reflection on the author's life and troubles interspersed with writing advice from a novelist with a troubled romantic past. She tells stories from her own life -- about miscarrying twice, about Hollywood, about online dating and her search for eternal love, about winning writing awards, about having skin and bowel problems, about her parents and her friends and her writing adventures, about how tormented she has been by online bullying, about parenting while dating, and about many other subjects -- in what appears to be random order, nothing linear or even related, and then seems also at random to put in a list of qualities writers need to be sure to understand about every character they create. I struggled between rating this book a 3 or a 4 but went with a 4 because it was gripping in a strange way (as I kept trying to piece all the author's disparate life tales together), because the writing itself was good, and because the writing advice was also good. Here are the 12 questions you need to be able to answer about your characters in order to fully develop them: What is your character's flaw? What is your character's gift? What is your character's want? What is your character's need? Who is your character's antagonist? What is your character's setting and relationship with that setting? What is your character's style? What is your character's crisis? What is your character's climax? What is your character's theme?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Boldon

    The parts of this book never quite added up to a whole for me. I've loved Block's writing since Weetzie Bat and some of the best parts of this were the magical writing about herself and LA. I love this author; she is lovely inside and out. It was painful to read about the cruelty others have casually inflicted regarding her looks, and still sadder to read how she's internalized that. The memoir part felt as if she still has some inner work to do on her relationship to herself and with her parent The parts of this book never quite added up to a whole for me. I've loved Block's writing since Weetzie Bat and some of the best parts of this were the magical writing about herself and LA. I love this author; she is lovely inside and out. It was painful to read about the cruelty others have casually inflicted regarding her looks, and still sadder to read how she's internalized that. The memoir part felt as if she still has some inner work to do on her relationship to herself and with her parents' memories. Some of the writing and book analysis parts felt jammed in for formatting reasons, and the writing instruction never felt melded with the memoir.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I love Francesca Lia Block, so it pains me that this book isn't everything I wanted it to be. As a memoir, it's fascinating, but it touches so little on her writing journey and what she would impart on other writers as far as craft. Disappointing, but it should have been billed as a pure memoir. It's great in that regard. I love Francesca Lia Block, so it pains me that this book isn't everything I wanted it to be. As a memoir, it's fascinating, but it touches so little on her writing journey and what she would impart on other writers as far as craft. Disappointing, but it should have been billed as a pure memoir. It's great in that regard.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    Loved this! A mixture of how to write/be creative and memoir.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tommie

    Offered a lot of good tips on what makes a great book. Block's life story was very interesting to read about and made it quite relatable when it comes to pain and writing. Offered a lot of good tips on what makes a great book. Block's life story was very interesting to read about and made it quite relatable when it comes to pain and writing.

  16. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Slipak

    For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist’s Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called “transcendent” by The New York Times, and her books have been included in “best of” lists compiled by Time magazine and NPR. In this long-anticipated guide to the craft of writing, Block offers an intimate glimpse of an artist at work For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist’s Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called “transcendent” by The New York Times, and her books have been included in “best of” lists compiled by Time magazine and NPR. In this long-anticipated guide to the craft of writing, Block offers an intimate glimpse of an artist at work and a detailed guide to help readers channel their own experiences and creative energy. Sharing visceral insights and powerful exercises, she gently guides us down the write-to-heal path, revealing at each turn the intrinsic value of channeling our experiences onto the page. Named for the painting by Frida Kahlo, who famously transformed her own personal suffering into art, The Thorn Necklace offers lessons on life, love, and the creative process. On Sale: May 1st 2018 Price: $15.99 Page Count: 304 ISBN-13: 9781580057523 FROM SEAL PRESS: “The Thorn Necklace by Francesca Lisa Block We are pleased to announce the publication of The Thorn Necklace by bestselling author Francesca Lia Block. This long-anticipated guide to the craft of writing is an intimate and supportive model to help readers channel their own experiences and creative energy. In The Thorn Necklace, Block offers an intimate glimpse of an artist at work, sharing visceral insights and powerful exercises to guide readers down the write-to-heal path using her original methodology called The 12 Questions. In revealing the intrinsic value of channeling experiences to the page, this memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing offers lessons on life, love, and the creative process. We would love to partner with you to spread the word about this creative and insightful book. If you would like to review it on your blog or website, promote it on your social media or email newsletter, or host a giveaway, we would be more than happy to send you an advance copy. Please email Quinn Fariel at [email protected] to receive a copy of The Thorn Necklace to review.” LEARN MORE Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books of stories, nonfiction, and fiction, including the Weetzie Bat books, her series of magical-realism novels. She has received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award, and the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as other citations from the American Library Association, the New York Times Book Review, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles, a city the New York Times says she describes “better than any writer since Raymond Chandler.” She teachers writing at UCLA, Antioch University, and numerous workshops across the country. MY THOUGHTS: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. LOVE the book, hate the cover… Why are books about writing or the creative process so stoic and (yawns), boring… I get what the message is that the publisher is trying to convey, but really (yawns), couldn’t it have been more… creative? Anywho… This is a fascinating book. It’s broken down into ten sections that I’ll show in a minute. Francesca Lia Block has a method of using twelve questions to help produce her writing; these twelve show how they’ve not only resolved the author’s own deeply-set weaknesses, hopes and desires, but offers all writers help in untangling their mesh of word-walls, struggles and battles in the literary world. The sections of this book are as follows: The book begins with a Foreword based around four simple words: “I am a writer.” Following this is an introduction: You Are an Artist! Part One: ECHO. Covers finding a mentor and answers the questions asked about “Gifts and Flaws.” Part Two: DANGEROUS ANGEL. Covers finding a muse and answers the questions asked about “Wants and Needs.” Part Three: BLOOD ROSES. Covers a section about channeling pain into art and answers the questions about “Arc.” Part Four: QUAKELAND. Covers banishing a critic and answers questions about the “Antagonist.” Part Five: THE FRENZY. Covers turning chaos into order and answers questions about “Setting.” Part Six: ROSES AND BONES. Covers developing your style and answers questions about “Style.” Part Seven: GUARDING THE MOON. Covers how to persevere and answers questions about “Theme.” Part Eight: BEYOND THE PALE MOTEL. Covers how to face your fears and answers questions about “Crisis.” Part Nine: ROUGH MAGICK. Covers how to deal with love and answers questions about “Climax.” Part Ten: THE THORN NECKLACE. Covers how to turn words into action and answers questions about “Resolution.” The author also provides exercises for fellow writers, followed by scenes and a section called AFTERWORD: The Magick Is Within This is an excellent writing resource that every writer should consider adding to their bookshelf to refer to often throughout their writing projects.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I am not a writer and have no ambition to be, I picked this up because FLB was formative when I was in junior high and high school. Her books made me feel less alone and her writing inspired me to find my voice and write, too (overwrought journal entries and bad teenage poetry, but writing nonetheless). During a particular bout of teenage depression, I copied all of my favorite "Rose and the Beast" quotes onto index cards and taped them to my closet door for daily re-reading, reassurance and a r I am not a writer and have no ambition to be, I picked this up because FLB was formative when I was in junior high and high school. Her books made me feel less alone and her writing inspired me to find my voice and write, too (overwrought journal entries and bad teenage poetry, but writing nonetheless). During a particular bout of teenage depression, I copied all of my favorite "Rose and the Beast" quotes onto index cards and taped them to my closet door for daily re-reading, reassurance and a reminder that art can come from pain. While I haven't read most of her work post-2010, I am very glad I was able to get my hands on a copy of this book! Each chapter featured a section of memoir and one of her 12 Questions of writing advice (illustrated in her life by the memoir portion of the chapter, and further detailed in context of popular works of fiction). Her advice was clear, concise, and manageable - it certainly would have shaped my own adolescent creative writing, and can be used to analyze and better appreciate any work of literature. She shares a lot of "life advice" gleaned from her own experiences and I marked a lot of passages to copy down before returning this book to the library. In short, I loved getting to know more about the woman behind the stories, and was not surprised that many of her most potent and passionate pieces were lifted very liberally from her own experiences. I am so glad I had FLB as a mentor in my adolescence and that she was able to shape her pain into art that so many of us were able to hold on to.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    The Thorn Necklace Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process 
by Francesca Lia Block
Perseus Books, Da Capo Press
 Seal Press
 Biographies & Memoirs , Self-Help
Pub Date 01 May 2018
 I am reviewing a copy of The Thorn Necklace by Perseus Books, Da Cala Press and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review!
If you are a fan of Bird by Bird or the Artist's way and looking to grow as a writer or author then Francesca Lia Block's The Thorn Necklace is a book you will want to add to your library.
 F The Thorn Necklace Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process 
by Francesca Lia Block
Perseus Books, Da Capo Press
 Seal Press
 Biographies & Memoirs , Self-Help
Pub Date 01 May 2018
 I am reviewing a copy of The Thorn Necklace by Perseus Books, Da Cala Press and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review!
If you are a fan of Bird by Bird or the Artist's way and looking to grow as a writer or author then Francesca Lia Block's The Thorn Necklace is a book you will want to add to your library.
 Francesca Lia Block reminds us that artists bleed their work. We are reminded too that the people we love are not perfect and the same is true for our mentors! We are reminded to that our characters need both strength and flaws! We are reminded too that like our characters it is our strengths as well as our weaknesses that make us unique.
 We are reminded too that when we write from our deepest longings, our writing has a broader appeal.
 As writers it is important we ask ourselves what our characters want, and what they need. We are reminded that all writers and artists Chanel there pain into art, but sadly not all survive that pain. The author points out too that creating powerful sensory descriptions can have a healing effect on the writer. We are encouraged to read widely and write consistently in order to develop our own unique voice as a writer. I give The Thorn Necklace five out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kimia Madani

    Ever since I first picked up a copy of 'Weetzie Bat' as a twelve-year-old, I fell head over heels for the lush and lyrical world of Francesca Lia Block's creation. It was a world full of dark angels and fairies and jacaranda blossoms so bright purple they looked poisonous. She wrote of a Los Angeles that was like a dark fairytale from my wildest imaginings, and immediately became one of my favorite authors of all time, someone who has inspired my own work as a writer in unparalleled ways. When I Ever since I first picked up a copy of 'Weetzie Bat' as a twelve-year-old, I fell head over heels for the lush and lyrical world of Francesca Lia Block's creation. It was a world full of dark angels and fairies and jacaranda blossoms so bright purple they looked poisonous. She wrote of a Los Angeles that was like a dark fairytale from my wildest imaginings, and immediately became one of my favorite authors of all time, someone who has inspired my own work as a writer in unparalleled ways. When I learned that she'd written a memoir, my first thought was, "Finally!" and upon finishing it, I can tell you that I'd recommend this book — a unique combination of part memoir and part writing guide — not only to anyone who wants to be a writer, but to anyone who strives to create something beautiful out of the ugliness of today's world. If you're looking for a little inspiration in the form of words and healing magic, this is the potion you need, the balm to your wounds and then some. FLB is the one, and I for one can't wait for the 'Weetzie Bat' movie.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dey

    I’m not sure how to review this one. I didn’t find that her 12 questions were anything new or even presented in a new way exactly, and I spent maybe the first third of the book irritated at all the name-dropping. And yet I kept reading and I finished it and felt that I enjoyed it. So, she definitely can write and hook a reader, but I’m still not clear on how that happened, so I might need to read again to figure it out. Honestly, I won’t — I’m absolute crap at reading to learn. She does discuss I’m not sure how to review this one. I didn’t find that her 12 questions were anything new or even presented in a new way exactly, and I spent maybe the first third of the book irritated at all the name-dropping. And yet I kept reading and I finished it and felt that I enjoyed it. So, she definitely can write and hook a reader, but I’m still not clear on how that happened, so I might need to read again to figure it out. Honestly, I won’t — I’m absolute crap at reading to learn. She does discuss using your interests and she sure demonstrates that, weaving David Bowie, punk music, vegan food, books, and more into her story. The 12 questions focus on developing your story (ex: what’s the theme? what are your character’s gifts and flaws?). ETA: I’ve never read any of her books. Picked this up at the library because the title caught my eye. I might try reading her work now because we have several overlapping interests.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zev

    The first time I tried to read this, I DNF'ed it within ten pages, frustrated to find out it's actually a memoir. The second time, now, I add that it's a repetitive one or seems like it due to structure. I was pleased to learn about Block and interested, but she just kept writing the same thing over and over. Less than five percent of this is a writer's guide, and what Block does provide seems like the most watered-down, cliché writing exercises ever. She seems to hurriedly finish so she can go The first time I tried to read this, I DNF'ed it within ten pages, frustrated to find out it's actually a memoir. The second time, now, I add that it's a repetitive one or seems like it due to structure. I was pleased to learn about Block and interested, but she just kept writing the same thing over and over. Less than five percent of this is a writer's guide, and what Block does provide seems like the most watered-down, cliché writing exercises ever. She seems to hurriedly finish so she can go back to her repetition of sex and loss, over and over. For someone whose writing had a profound impact on me, when she talks about herself I'm hardly affected. It could really be a genre difference--novels and memoirs take different skills. Other reviews of her short stories noted they seemed autobiographical without needing to be, and here she verifies it. I'm still glad I got to learn about her, though.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    If you are a fan of Francesca Lia Block who is looking for a writing guide, this book is for you. If you have never heard of Francesca Lia Block, don't start with this book. The Thorn Necklace is part autobiography, part writing class, part story examples (original and classic). You will feel a close connection to the author as it is written in her classic style, and there are also incredibly important lessons in here that are taught in high school and college level creative writing classes; it's If you are a fan of Francesca Lia Block who is looking for a writing guide, this book is for you. If you have never heard of Francesca Lia Block, don't start with this book. The Thorn Necklace is part autobiography, part writing class, part story examples (original and classic). You will feel a close connection to the author as it is written in her classic style, and there are also incredibly important lessons in here that are taught in high school and college level creative writing classes; it's a wonderful refresher and a peek into the life of a favorite author. However, it is not the best writing reference I have ever read. And if you are not a fan of Block's work or style, this book is not going to make a whole lot of sense to you. Overall, this came to me at the right point in my life and taught me some lessons I didn't expect. I loved it and savored it like a Japanese meal.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eggbeater

    I haven't read any of Francesca Lia Block's fiction works and her book took me a while to warm up to, so I'm not even sure if I'd be taking advice from someone whose writing I'd enjoy or not. An oversight on my part when picking up the book, but the title intrigued me and I've wanted to be a writer for so long and have been stuck. This book is very much a memoir and personal demonstration of creative writing. As I moved further along in the book, I became more motivated to write myself and it st I haven't read any of Francesca Lia Block's fiction works and her book took me a while to warm up to, so I'm not even sure if I'd be taking advice from someone whose writing I'd enjoy or not. An oversight on my part when picking up the book, but the title intrigued me and I've wanted to be a writer for so long and have been stuck. This book is very much a memoir and personal demonstration of creative writing. As I moved further along in the book, I became more motivated to write myself and it stirred up some ideas. And isn't that what you need out of any writing tutorial? The author does assume that the would-be writer is already well educated (I'm not) and has already understands concepts like passive voice (I don't). Now I have a list of things to do more research about, but I have somewhere fun to start.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Francesca Lia Block's The Thorn Necklace was similar Stephen King's On Writing in that it's mostly memoir with a bit of writing instruction thrown into the mix. Both Block and King have distinct styles, and their advice differs significantly. Block focuses on the building blocks of story-- crafting characters, creating settings, taking them on a journey through crisis and resolution. Block's twelve writing rules/elements are tagged onto the end of chapters about her development, wins, and strugg Francesca Lia Block's The Thorn Necklace was similar Stephen King's On Writing in that it's mostly memoir with a bit of writing instruction thrown into the mix. Both Block and King have distinct styles, and their advice differs significantly. Block focuses on the building blocks of story-- crafting characters, creating settings, taking them on a journey through crisis and resolution. Block's twelve writing rules/elements are tagged onto the end of chapters about her development, wins, and struggles as a writer and human being. Additionally, Block provides outlines of familiar novels exhibiting the twelve elements for story and a series of writing exercises and prompts in the appendix. This is a worthwhile read for writers, especially those inspired by Block's work.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eleanore

    "I had my answer, in writing. It didn't matter that I loved him, or even how much. I had to let him go." I don't think I've ever encountered anything quite like this -- a writing guide mixed in with such heartbreakingly honest memoir -- but both ends of it were very moving and effective. They inspired me to write, and look back at some of my own struggles in life and relationships over the past several years. Also, Francesca is just a lovely person, and I'm proud to call her a friend and fellow m "I had my answer, in writing. It didn't matter that I loved him, or even how much. I had to let him go." I don't think I've ever encountered anything quite like this -- a writing guide mixed in with such heartbreakingly honest memoir -- but both ends of it were very moving and effective. They inspired me to write, and look back at some of my own struggles in life and relationships over the past several years. Also, Francesca is just a lovely person, and I'm proud to call her a friend and fellow member of our little world of book people. I can easily see myself returning to this work as I delve further into memoir writing of my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Francesca Lia Block, in a lot of ways, shaped my adolescence. I was on the hunt for a library copy of The Hanged Man as its one of the few I never bought and held onto, and just stumbled onto this — best timing ever. It’s not a 5 Star all time fave (yet, maybe rereads will change that), but it was so amazing to basically revisit an old friend, sharing advice and stories at a time when I really needed it, creatively and otherwise.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Karalius

    Block is one of my favorite authors of all time - I read her since finding her books in the library in junior high and she inspired me to become a writer with her stories of magic and love. So it was a pleasure to read this book about her life and craft tips and tricks to writing strong stories. I also loved getting to see behind the scenes, finding out what real life experiences inspired her books (lots of stuff about ECHO in there yaaaaay.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jody

    Writing is about more than words on a page and the story they tell. Lia Block goes to the next level and translates her pain, suffering, joy, and elation through beautifully crafted prose. Writing is a way to heal, a way to process, and a way to explore. Having an expert in the field take you through her experience is like being a fly, not on the wall, but inside her emotions. This book is so much more than a memoir. Beautifully done.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Moon Petrie

    It reminded me of the magic present in the world and the power of the things we love and the way we love them. It made me feel once again that all things are possible, which I felt when I first read Weetzie Bat when I was 14. It made me want to write, but it also made me want to love and to travel and to throw away the accumulated detritus of decades and to lose myself in the profound gloriousness of simple things, like flowers and food. It cracked my heart open a little and let the light in.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    I've read all her books, and I've always been fascinated by her, so this was a guilty pleasure to read about her life and her writing process. Not only that, there is so much useful information for writings working on their own novel. I highly recommend this even if you've never read anything else by her. I've read all her books, and I've always been fascinated by her, so this was a guilty pleasure to read about her life and her writing process. Not only that, there is so much useful information for writings working on their own novel. I highly recommend this even if you've never read anything else by her.

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