The follow-up to the acclaimed novel The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.
In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor.
In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love.
In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.
Three new stories—complete with commentary on the creative process—from three acclaimed young adult authors working at the height of their powers.
I wasn’t as blown away by THE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY as I was by THE CURIOSITIES but that’s not to say it wasn’t good. Truly, it was. I just didn’t feel as absorbed by it as I did the last one. Maybe because this one was a digital copy and the first one wasn’t and it involved so much more complimentary STUFF to reading the stories and I was missing that here. I don’t know. I don’t have a hard copy of this one so I can’t rightly compare if I’m missing doodles and little notes and tiny asides that would just add to the overall Merry Sisters of Fate reading experience.
But I liked the stories and ANATOMY was more focused on teaching writing to others where CURIOSITIES was more internalized with the authors teaching writing to each other and the readers got to watch their process from the sidelines, munching on popcorn. As a writer I was more involved on a studious level with this one as I read the notes, saw how each other approached writing and just how deeply they all delved into it. I felt wholly inadequate but it also made me think that maybe that’s what I’m missing. That my stuff’s good but not GOOD because it’s missing that level of authorial depth that Stiefvater, Gratton, and Yovanoff put into it. Or maybe my style is just far more chaotic (I seemed to match up with Brenna a bit more here with approach) and I’ve just never been forced to face my own process. My process just happens but maybe if I actually sat down and thought about it I wouldn’t be too far off from these ladies. I don’t know, because writing is so varied.
I liked the “real world” examples of their writing being put up for dissection. ANATOMY isn’t about critiquing but about studying an already polished novella and breaking it down to its basic parts. Basically breaking the finished puzzle apart piece by piece and getting an explanation as to why this corner was laid out first, followed by this blotch of red in the middle, and then this edge section. So even though their finished products were broken apart by the end, it still gave me not only a complete picture of each story but three completely different processes on how each world was created.
It all made me content. ANATOMY is less about telling a story for a story’s sake. Don’t go into this one thinking that you’re going to get a Maggie story, a Brenna story, and a Tessa story. You are but I don’t think they’ll affect you in the same way they usually do. But as a writer it’ll rile up your world and put you at peace with it as it showcases three very different writing styles, the depths of writing, and the glorious finished products that come with it. As a reader it’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look as to how something that really is so short is put together and the incredible amount of brain power used to glue it all together. The amount of work required to make a great story so that you don’t actually see that work is awesome in the true meaning of that word. So while I second-guessed everything that I’ve written I also had my eyes opened even wider and I learned from this book. Had I gotten nothing out of it 1) that would have been a crime and 2) I wouldn’t have been listening (or reading, as it were). If you are receptive to letting these women into your space they will have much to teach you.
Read THE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY to get a peek inside the brains of three great authors. And read it to make yourself grow as an author. I’m going to file this away with my love for FICTION EDITING (Browne/King) as a tool for helping me. Getting rules talked at you is helpful (to an extent). But seeing authors deconstruct their work just adds a whole other level of learning to writing that I feel greater knowing.
I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.