A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is seven short stories, and essays about those short stories. They come together to turn into lessons about writing and storytelling.
I took this book in chunks. It’s arranged with story, essay, afterward for one lesson; then the same three sections for the next story. It wasn’t a fill-in-the-holes-in-your-day kind of reading; it was definitely sit-down-and-pay-attention-for-awhile reading.
The writing lessons were somewhat prosaic. The story only needs what matters, but that means you as a reader need to pay attention to everything. Fewer words are usually better, but more words are sometimes good, especially when you’re establishing voice. Keep tinkering with your words. Go back over what you’ve written a few times to make sure that’s really how you want to say it. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it was packaged in such a way that it made the lessons easy to learn.
I say prosaic, but the simplest lessons are the hardest to put into practice. I’ve started being more focused in my writing since reading this book. I’ve been re-writing more too. There’s no good way to get practice writing that isn’t just writing. Just because the lessons are simple doesn’t mean that you automatically use them. Personally, I’m happy to practice more. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a useful craft book.