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Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1582974255
ISBN-10: 158297425X
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Every book is a lonely journey, but Chapter After Chapter provides the wisdom, inspiration, and wit needed to help writers go that difficult distance and not feel so very alone.
--N.M. Kelby, author of Whale Season and forthcoming Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill

Heather Sellers has written the Great Mother of all Wise Guides, an indispensable roadmap to authorship for both emerging and experienced writers. No need to clear a space on the bookshelf for Chapter After Chapter; writers will want this book in hand as they drive idea toward finished manuscript. Reading this, I lamented not owning a copy before embarking on my current project. With its pragmatic tips and helpful exercises designed to fortify against procrastination and keep me madly in love with my book, Chapter After Chapter would have saved me years of meandering off course.
--Lorraine Lopez, author of Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, Call Me Henri, and The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters (to be released by Warner Books in fall of 2007)

About the Author

Award-winning writer and professor Heather Sellers is the author of Page After Page, as well as Georgia Under Water, Drinking Girls and Their Dresses, and the kids' book Spike and Cubby's Ice Cream Island Adventure.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (December 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158297425X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582974255
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in Florida--Orlando, Daytona Beach, and Tallahassee. My first book, which I wrote and illustrated by hand in a 1970s alternative "enrichment" school near the ocean, was titled "Arnold the Crab and Other Stories." The first and only print run was one copy. Arnold was me, and he and his family lived undersea. The main goal was to improve the interior decoration of the sea cave--Arnold had a lot of ideas.

In addition to wanting to continue writing and making books, I wanted to become a teacher. After studying creative writing and elementary education at Florida State University, and eventually earning a PhD in English, I started teaching at the college level in Texas, and then in Michigan. I still write almost every day, and think my teaching gets better every year. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have such a rich professional life, doing the two things I always dreamed of doing.

I've published three volumes of poetry, three books on the craft of writing, a book of linked short stories, and a children's book. My new book is a memoir, You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: a true story of family, face blindness, and forgiveness. I'm at work on a new memoir.

When I'm not writing or hocking my students, I'm reading, riding my gorgeous svelte Bianchi, or wishing I was writing.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Pat Shand VINE VOICE on May 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Well-written, motivating, at times a bit talky, but still way above the average for 'How to Write' kind of books... That's pretty much how I'd sum up this book. Also, it's oddly good. Never since Stephen King's "On Writing" have I actually enjoyed reading a book like this simply to read the writer's prose. Seller's writing is quirky and fresh, and I will soon be buying more of her books.

Now onto the meat and potatoes. The book is motivation on paper, pure and simple. I actually was unable to finish certain sections because parts of the book had me so excited to do my own writing that long stretches of time passed before I was able to find time to read this again. Every chapter had something different, and overall helpful, to say, ending with a skill-enhancing exercise. I found these exercises to be the most interesting part of the book, and--for me--made it so darn good. I have to say though; not every chapter will help every person. I found myself skipping more than one chapter, feeling the information didn't apply to me. Every writer is different, and will take the advice in a different way. Not to mention, it's a very attractive book. The design of the pages is very handsome, and is what initially drove me to pick up this book.

So, to sum this up quickly, you don't get much better than this (other than the previously mentioned "On Writing"). If you're writing a novel, a collection of short stories/essays, or your ten-thousand (eek) page autobiography, this book is for you. Plain and simple, it'll help you avoid writer's block and push you to do what you need to do to get your dream job done.

9/10
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The best part about "Chapter After Chapter" is that Sellers assures writers that they are not alone, and that great works need time to create. This may not be the book for those who are into the "novel in 30 days" school, but it does offer a perspective that can help bring one up to speed. The book is a winner, a sigh of relief.

Update: I've been re-reading this book until now, months after I first picked up the book. I may sound like a gushing high-schooler, but I can't believe that a book can reassure me the way "Chapter After Chapter" does. I'm almost done with the writing of my next graphic novel, and Heather Sellers' words help keep me going.

I always go back to her impressions about dealing with writer's block, warding off tempting new story ideas and learning more about the craft. When it comes to writing projects, I have a hard time finishing what I start, so her musings about having a relationship with your book are dead-on.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most motivating writing books I've read recently. Each chapter could probably be summed up in one or two sentences, but that's the beauty of it -- the concepts are clear and well understood while you're reading the book.

I used some of these techniques while writing my first book, but without knowing what I was doing (for example: blocking out or scheduling writing time). As I work on my next book(s), I've found some new motivation from this one and some techniques that I'm actively using.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson on March 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not perfect. There are suggestions that I think are ridiculous, like you must read 100 books in your chosen genre before starting to write your own novel. Yes, read the books, but get writing as well. Yet, the point is well taken, if a bit skewed. Yes, you should be well read, in your chosen genre and in others as well, if you want to have an original voice.

This book is not perfect, but there are enough gems, that I want to finish the book and buy her other book as well. It is clear that she is a writer who has spent many nights in the trenches, who loves writing and wants to encourage others to write. She, however, pulls no punches in telling you that you must be well equipped to make the commitment to writing, to make time, and do the work.

This will probably become a classic in its genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julia A. Boyd on July 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chapter After Chapter is a winner. I keep this and Heather Sellers other book Page after Page on my writing desk as a reminder of what the writing process is all about. It was like having a good friend by my side encouraging me to keep at it. Heather breaks down the writing process into doable pieces. Not since Bird by Bird have I read a book on writing that's stimulated my brain intellectually and technically as well as being a pleasure to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By margaret_yang on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
from book blogger Margaret Yang writingslices.wordpress.com

Beginning writers need instruction on the craft-characterization, plot, dialog, exposition, endings. There is a ton to learn about how stories are put together. Once a writer becomes proficient, (finishing stories regularly, maybe publishing them) a whole new set of concerns crops up. Advanced writers may have mastered the craft, but there is a ton to learn about living a writer's life. CHAPTER AFTER CHAPTER is not so much a writer's how-to as a writer's how-to-be.

Sellers quickly debunks the myth that writing novels can be sandwiched into an otherwise overflowing life. Writing--if one is going to be a success--can't be treated as a hobby. It has to be a priority.

Much of Sellers' advice centers on this idea. A writer sticks with the writing, while at the keyboard and while away from it. Writing inhabits our daily lives, even if we have day jobs. It needs that intense focus, otherwise it will creep away. Other things will come in to take the writer's time and attention until there is nothing left for the book.

Other parts of the book cover common writing pitfalls. Sellers is honest and vulnerable, here. She shows the readers where she stumbled in hopes that they will not. There are chapters on how to get unstuck in the middle of a book, why you should finish what you start, how to shut up your internal editor and why your book is probably not done when you type "the end." However, her focus is not on the craft itself. Since writing is such an all-consuming activity for Sellers, she does not separate life from art. She maintains that problems on the page are, more often than not, caused by problems in a writer's life.
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Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams
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