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Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey [Kindle Edition]

Chuck Wendig
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.99

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Book Description

“No seriously, he’s not f**king around, you really don’t want to be a writer. But if you’re mad enough to decide that you do, Wendig will be your gonzo-esque guide, from the technical advice about structure, query letters and submissions, to dealing with agents and editors and how to make your characters do as they’re damn well told, he’s full of good advice. Like a cursing, booze-soaked Virgil to your Dante, let him show you around.

Buy this book, your editor will thank you.”

-- Jenni Hill, Editor, Solaris Books

Want to become a novelist? A screenwriter? An all-around freelance penmonkey? Don’t know the difference between beats, scenes, sequences and acts? Not sure where to begin your edit, or how to query an agent, or what liquor goes best with the madness of being a writer? Then CONFESSIONS OF A FREELANCE PENMONKEY is all yours.

CONFESSIONS is a collection of 50+ essays on the subject of writing and the writing life. It covers a wide array of subjects, from technical advice to discussions of publishing versus self-publishing to what to do if you wake up pantsless and ink-stained in the basement of a Tijuana bookstore.

Equal parts hilarious, insane, profane, and profound, CONFESSIONS will take you through the trials and tribulations of the penmonkey’s existence, offering advice every step of the way.

Features popular TERRIBLEMINDS essays:

…“Beware of Writer”

…“Drop That Pen, Grab A Hammer: Building The Writer’s Platform”

…”Exposing Yourself: Do You Write For Free?”

…“No, Seriously, I’m Not F**king Around, You Really Don’t Want To Be A Writer”

…“The Penmonkey’s Paean”

… “Why Your Novel Won’t Get Published”

…“Why You Won’t Finish That Novel”

And more!

(TERRIBLEMINDS has been named one of the top 101 websites for writers by WRITER’S DIGEST magazine!)

"Chuck Wendig has done what so many authors desperately need and will never admit: offered a phenomenal book about the real world of writing, and made it reachable and readable by anyone. An absolute must-read for anyone even thinking of dabbling with words for a living.”

-- Karina Cooper, author, Blood of the Wicked

"Chuck Wendig's Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey is full of the kind of writing advice I wish I'd gotten in school. Practical, brutally honest, and done with the kind of humor that will make it stick in your brain. Whether you're a veteran writer or new to the craft, you'll find something useful in here.

Plus he says ‘f**k’ a lot, so, you know, there's that."

-- Stephen Blackmoore, author, City of the Lost

"In Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey, Chuck Wendig hammers out writing and career advice that's always brave, profane, creative, clever, and honest. And don't forget hilarious. You'll never laugh so hard learning so much."

-- Matt Forbeck, game designer & author, Vegas Knights

“When a writer hits cynical, drunken, mother-hugging rock bottom, that's when they need Chuck Wendig's raw, no-holds barred advice. This is not for the faint of heart. But then again, neither is writing.”

-- Mur Lafferty, host of ISBW (I Should Be Writing), editor of Escape Pod, author of Playing For Keeps

"Despite being irreverent, vulgar, and funny, Chuck Wendig is also surprisingly profound. From one wordslinger about another, Chuck is the real deal and every prospective or working writer should read Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey."

-- Jennifer Brozek, author, The Little Finance Book That Could

“If you want to be a better writer, or just want to be inspired by one of the best takes on writing I’ve ever read, do yourself a favor and buy Confessions.”

-- Daniel Ames, author, Feasting at the Table of the Damned

Product Details

  • File Size: 1085 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Terribleminds; First Kindle Edition edition (May 18, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0051JTOLQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,873 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate (the other one) May 23, 2011
By Kate
Format:Kindle Edition
4 stars just because I'm name-dropped about half way through the book. Extra star for his hilarious send up of the acknowledgments page.

I kid. I kid.

This is, in essence, TerribleMinds: the remix. Consider this the greatest hits collection of Chuck's writing advice throughout the years, with bonus content and post scripts on many of the articles. You'll see Chuck change his mind about NaNoWriMo, completely reverse his stance on ebooks, and expand on a lot of ideas he only glossed over the first time around. That alone is well worth the $5 price tag.

Bottom line - this is the most honest writing advice you'll come across. You won't agree with everything Chuck puts forward, and he doesn't expect you to. He doesn't approach his methods and musings as The One True Way to Write. Instead he'll give you lots of options to chew on, things to ponder, and a new way of looking at your craft.

Writers, this collection is a boon. Add it to your collection.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey is a fun read, full of encouraging solid advice for people who would like to be what he is - a professional freelance writer. At times challenging, funny, profane, sweet, and inspiring, (occasionally all of those things at once), Chuck's articles - mostly taken from his blog at - did a very important thing. They made me think long and hard about whether professional writing is for me.

Chuck Wendig is, well, an odd duck with a penchant for creative, colorful profanity that is nothing short of astounding. He is also, by most reports, usually pantsless. You have been warned. And of course, now I can't think about the words long and hard without it being a euphemism. CURSE YOU, WENDIG!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dude I mean really. December 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Seriously, where in the hell can you find writing advice this good in a format that so side-splitting, jaw droppingly hi-frakkin-lar-e-ous?

Nowhere. Only from Chuck Wendig.

It's ridiculous how much this book rocks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pen's and monkey's July 31, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My personal experience with the fiction genre is, well, non-existent. I can give you a step 1, step 2, and step 3 like a how-to virtuoso. But to make up a tale with plots (can there really be more than one?) and dialogue and conflict and under stories... I'm a neophyte. A corn on Stephen King's baby toe.

So when I read books like Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey, it's all a pre-k education for me. Research for my great urban novel that every princess like me dares to undertake in her lifetime.

And quite frankly, any book with the title "penmonkey" can't be half-bad, right?

Well let's just say penmonkey is the most tame of the vernacular here.

I grew up listening to Richard Pryor on my Barbie record player after school when I was a kid, so I love "colorful" language. Well let's just say that author Chuck Wendig is, ummm, very colorful in that Pryor-esque kind of way.

He wields cuss words in a fashion that I can only describe as "potty mouth linguistics."

You couldn't outrun it if you were part Usain Bolt, part hungry cheetah - it lovingly permeates Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey like a bad armpit smell in an old t-shirt.

But I digress... if you're easily offended by bad words, do not peek behind the curtain. You'll have a morality heart attack.

As for me, well I laughed (a lot) while rollicking with Mr. Penmonkey. I purposely stored away some very keen ideas on dialogue and emotional core and tension, as well as unicorns and goats.

It's not an in-depth treatise on these topics (this book is a collection of his best blog posts), but more like a 'think-on-these-snippets' type explanation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good little penmonkey July 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Is Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey the most useful book of writing advice I will read all year? Yes it is. You too, if you're smart.

When it kicked off with the self-castigating affirmation "I am a writer, and I will finish the s**t that I started" I knew I'd come to the right place. Chuck Wendig's ebook collection of essays on the life and trials of the self-employed writer cuts through the accumulated mythological detritus of the freelancer and tells it like it is.

Confessions is crude, irreverent and frequently blunt to the point of cruelty - "Crap Habits of the Highly Ineffective Writer" and "Why You Probably Still Suck as a Writer" are just two of his dilettante deterring screeds, and not even close to the worst for ego-deflating brutality - but it's fair. Professional writing would appear to be a pretty tough gig.

Wendig pulls no punches in laying out just how much work goes into writing, editing and publishing, not to mention finding ways to avoid starvation during the long gulf between typing "The End" and commencing the four-continent book-signing tour. For that matter, Confessions will leave you with a pretty clear picture of the effort required to make a living from writing for money. This book conveys practical, no-nonsense advice (albeit in an authorial voice so nonsensical it verges on the drunken. And hilarious). Wendig puts fiction-writing under the microscope from every angle until something catches fire: dialogue, editing, structure, plotting. He looks at action scenes, sex scenes, descriptive passages, purple prose. And rewriting: he's big on the rewriting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro into Wendig's writing advice
Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey may be my favorite of Chuck Wendig's writing manifestos. While it may be content that already appeared on his blog, it is his post-script... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Josh Vasquez
3.0 out of 5 stars Good material, but Mr Wendig needs to practise what he preaches in...
Packed with useful advice for writers, Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey is a collection of articles taken from the author's blog, terrible minds. Read more
Published 2 months ago by T. Ormiston-smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Every writer should read this.
This book makes you wish that Chuck Wendig was your English teacher. He doesn't fuss over the specifics of grammar or the technical terms of writing, but instead focuses on the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jennifer Sparr
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Expletive-Ridden Advice
Well worth the money. Wendig delivers important advice without sugar-coating anything. If anything, he profanity-coats everything. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Zalmorion the Fantastic
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome once again
Lots of awesome advice wrapped up in the most entertaining manner. Top score from me. I spend a lot of time laughing but what a great way to soak up information
Published 18 months ago by Wendy L Curtis
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Insightful
This isn't your typical "How to be an Awesome Writer and Break into the Business" book. You're not going to come out of it with a magical ability to outline your story,... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Lee Dunning
5.0 out of 5 stars Confess This.
Chuck Wendig is my dude when it comes to giving some much needed writer's advice. Is he crass? Yep! Foul-mouthed? Eff yeah! You know what though? He's honest. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Katherine McCausland
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm no longer aspiring to be a writer...
I am a writer. I blame Mr. Wendig.

'Confessions' holds a great many pearls of...well, wisdom. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Carol McKenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Chuck Wendig
If you read Terrible Minds and live by what father Wendig teaches, you should get this book. If you don't and are an aspiring author, you are either weak or your doing it wrong. Read more
Published on February 24, 2013 by Ryan Aech
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of gems, stewed in dog poop
Nobody writes writing advice quite like Chuck Wendig, and I cannot recommend his work enough for those of us with "modern" attention spans and irreverent... Read more
Published on November 25, 2012 by Liviu Constantinescu
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More About the Author


Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He's the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog,, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.

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