- Paperback: 236 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 26, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1512153745
- ISBN-13: 978-1512153743
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Journaling to Become a Better Writer: Seven Keys to More Authentic Fiction
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About the Author
Danielle Lincoln Hanna learned how to read and write at age four and has been keeping a journal since she was five. Her “Hearth & Homicide Suspense” is a blend of crime fiction meets Thomas Kinkade. When she’s not riveted to her computer, she can be found camping, hiking, and biking with her dog Molly. Her newsletter is available at www.DanielleLincolnHanna.com/newsletter
Top customer reviews
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I have found it to be very useful and inspiring. As a writer of short stories and bad cowboy poetry, I needed a boost to get me writing again. And this was the book to do it.
Hopefully in a year or so I will be able to publish my second book.
The first book I read on craft that helped me feel like I was actually learning what it means to call myself a writer was Stephen King’s On Writing. Changed my life. I quoted it for months after reading it, just ask my mom.
I came upon this book by DM offer from Danielle when she followed me on Twitter. Usually I roll my eyes when I get a DM from all the authors on Twitter but this one was the first one where instead of being asked to follow their Facebook page or Instagram account, I was being offered a free book that may or may not help me with my writing. Now that’s quite a loaded DM if you ask me. :)
Overall, this review will be short because I have nothing but good things to say about the book.
The book is eight chapters long and is split between the author’s actual journal entries and explanations of how the entry shows a tip toward making your craft better. One thing I loved is that after months of being told by beta readers to show, don’t tell, Hanna finally got me to understand it in a way that stuck. I’m not saying I’m an expert on it yet but I suddenly get the difference. The author’s journal entries read so much like fiction I was blown away. Her writing talent mirrors that of another favorite of mine, Cassandra Clare. I hope that after reading this book I can write as succinctly and flowing as Danielle does. Conclusively, if you want to become a writer or become a better writer, or struggling to sell books and wondering why, please consider getting this book at any bookseller. You won’t be sorry you did. -This review was originally posted on thesmartcookiephiles.wordpress.com
In “Pages From My Journal,” Hanna presents a mini-memoir of her own struggle to deal with the loss of the father figures in her life as she meets Sam, a man whom she instantly longs to attach the title of “Daddy.” The excerpts are heart-wrenching in their honesty and emotion and swallowed me up as a reader almost instantly. The book is worth the purchase for these excerpts alone.
Similarly, “Lessons from Journaling” is oftentimes less educational and more self-reflective, as Hanna uses what she’s written in the excerpts to discover how the act of journaling these scenes has made her a better writer in other aspects of her life. Although she presents these as lessons to the reader, they are as honest as the excerpts from her life, as she writes about how “every tool I use for crafting a book, I honed and continue to hone in my journal.” The tools she presents are, for the most part, not new, but by telling how SHE discovered them, she gives personal credence to other authors who have similarly suggested writers try them.
My least favorite part of the book, interestingly enough, was the sections of “Homework.” The exercises in the book, for the most part, are exercises that have been used and reused by and suggested and re-suggested to writers for decades. The idea that we should be gathering inspiration (and details) from our real lives is not new, which makes this section of the book come off as less interesting than the others. A writer certainly may choose to use them in the context of personal journaling (which is the whole point of the book, really), but they’ve often been used outside of that context.
All in all, Hanna’s part memoir / part practical guide is well worth a read. Whether you find the exercises interesting and useful or not, you will certainly gain insight into Hanna herself and her methods of capturing the heart of her life for a captive audience. Whether you’re a journaler, a blogger, or a fiction/non-fiction author, you will find a charming story of how one woman turned the darkest secrets of her life into gold, and that is more than worth the cost of admission.
**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**