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How to Write a Book: For Beginners: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel Kindle Edition
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Inside the pages of "A Guide to Writing Your First Novel" is valuable information that can show you where you're going astray in your pre-publication path, or else where you could improve. This book does not so much focus on getting through that first draft, or even pre-planning your first draft, but rather on the important steps that follow writing that novel, and the perseverance it takes to get published.
At times, "A Guide" is an entertaining, enjoyable read, at other times challenging and thought-provoking to the reader. AJ gives tips on how to improve prose, what to focus on to hook the reader, as well as increasing conflict, writing with emotion, and knowing your characters' backstories.
Although this book doesn't go into great depths in these subjects, it is more than enough for a newbie writer to get started. The addition of many resources outside of this book, i.e. web links and book recommendations, suggests that AJ Flowers is well read in terms of traditional publication and the craft of writing, as well as offering follow-up resources for the newbie author to pursue.
While this is AJ's first publication, don't let that lead you into thinking that she doesn't know what she's talking about. She's done her homework and has a great deal of resources to back up her data. In fact, she has plenty of information that I have not heard presented before, and delivers it in a fresh, appealing, down-to-earth voice.
I especially appreciate the emphasis on developing a writer's prose, as so often these days story is emphasized over delivery and quality of writing. A writer's prose is as important as story--it's a shame when an author delivers a fantastic story with mediocre or poor prose.
While AJ Flowers is a self-professed fantasy author seeking representation for her first novel, I found her advice pertinent to my realism fiction writing as well. Her chapter on world-building was still relevant and worth reading, and even the fantasy book reviews were well worth the time to read. She even gives some advice to those wishing to self publish, speaking to developing covers and seeking editors, etc. prior to publication.
If you are interested in hearing from other authors, there are even a few author interviews covered here to give you a different point of view.
If I had to complain about anything, it was the extensive covering of Twitter pitches at the end of the book. It is clear that AJ has a passion for those Twitter pitches, such as #PitMad or #PitMatch, and while there is value in being able to pitch your story in 140 characters, the amount of Twitter pitches included dragged the end of the book down for me. A few examples would have been sufficient for me to study, instead of so many pages.
That complaint aside, this will be a resource that I can see myself flipping back to, and I'll definitely be checking out some of the other books recommended by AJ Flowers. Well worth the time and money spent to read!
rating: 4.5/5 stars
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