Hurling Words into Darkness: A Book Doctor's Dose of Brain Science for Writers


Product Details

$14.99  $13.94
Sargasso Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.5 X 0.25 inches | 0.32 pounds

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About the Author

Peter Gelfan has been a book editor for more than 25 years, editing for writers ranging from bestselling authors to first-timers. His novel Found Objects was published in 2013 and Monkey Temple in 2019. The first edition of Hurling Words into Darkness was published in 2021.He lives in New York City, where he continues to write, work as a freelance book editor, and tutor writing in a public high school as part of PEN's Writers in the Schools program.


A fascinating dive into what authors should know about the brain science of how and why we read. Gelfan (Monkey Temple) connects breakthroughs in cognitive science to effective writing in this incisive guide, focusing on how the brain "extracts meaning" from the world-and what authors can extract from that knowledge. Noting that there's no one path to success as an author but "some reliably watertight guarantors of failure," Gelfan undercuts the templates and inflexible rules of many other books about the craft of writing. For Gelfan, compelling writing is about "learning how to think about what you're trying to do and then coming up with creative and effective ideas for how to do it"-and knowing something about how the brain processes writing helps, too. He urges authors toward innovation, using the power of subtext, and understanding why we read and write in the first place, all while offering some concrete advice, like avoiding too much detail in prose to invite the brains of readers to fill in the missing links.

- BookLife Reviews

"...the author tackles the fundamentals of fiction in perhaps the most basic way anyone has dealt with them before.... In a crowded genre, this craft guide makes a lasting impression. An illuminating writing manual with an evolutionary focus."

- Kirkus Reviews

Reader Raves for the First Edition

"A wise, witty, enjoyable book, and illuminating in its references to ideas of mind in relation to writing."

"This work proves the point that short books require a higher caliber of thoughtfulness than long works ... the advice offered here is worth many times the cover price."

"A different dimension on creative writing."

"Devoured this book! A true delivery of fresh ways to think while writing."

"If writing hurls words into darkness, Gelfan's book shines light into that void by unpacking the 'why' as well as the 'how' of storytelling."