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You can look at this book as a tribute to language--its pulse, its purpose, the chime of its music. And particularly its play on the page: The book's core is how to see the world as a writer. It supplies tools to find and cultivate your writer's voice, that unique combination of attributes--sensitivity to language, storytelling and audience--by which writers see and define the world.
Think Like a Writer discusses writing at a structural level: how words work in sentences and how sentences work in stories, moving to how to use those elements and that writer's stance to write across genres.
The book explores how to stimulate your story-hunting process, and how to get your stories written, for both fiction and nonfiction writing. Oh--and it's funny.
About the Author
Tom Bentley is a business writer and editor, an essayist, and a fiction writer. (He does not play banjo.) He’s published hundreds of freelance pieces—ranging from first-person essays to travel pieces to more journalistic subjects—in newspapers, magazines, and online. His small-press short story collection, Flowering and Other Stories, was published in the spring of 2012. His self-published book on finding and cultivating your writer’s voice, Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See was published in June of 2015. He would like you to pour him a Manhattan right at five.
Smacking of Stephen King's ON WRITING, Tom Bentley takes a long successful career of freelance, journalism, and novels, and condenses it into a combination how-to and how-I-did-it, with an added dose of warm and humorous wisdom. He provides resources....and anecdotes. Lessons....and tales. Queries, markets...then memories like that of "cocooning" inside a 1966 Airstream, seeking that perfect place to write. This is a handy little self-effacing book for the writer seeking their way.
Freshly brewed, piping hot if you devour it in one go, deliciously served in its words, and invigorating the aspiring writer in me. Whenever I read Tom Bentley, be it in print, or on less durable media,I feel invited to grow out of my naive English (not a native English speaker) and get a bit more courageous with my words. And thoughts, even. Am I writing like a thinker? And I have only read up to page 29. The title of this review is one of many aromatic headings in the book, based on a preview copy kindly shared by the author.
This book has more of a focus on writing non-fiction, but many of the tips are easily applicable to fiction writing too. I enjoyed the more off-beat approach of the book as a "How To". Instead of a laundry list of writing steps, Bentley instead offers insight on ways to change how one may view the world and write from different perspectives. I have been reading a lot books dealing with story structure and conventions. This book looks at the writing process from new and refreshing angles which I enjoyed.
This book is the whole package: educational and instructional while applying all the techniques of authenticity and great storytelling in the process. Rich in vocabulary, many sentences are pieces of art by themselves, and great fun to read on top of it. The mix of biographical material to illustrate the points of each chapter and the actual sequences elaborating on said point's relevance make you forget you are actually learning something very useful.
Tom's book encouraged me to see my way into new creativity. He helped me understand voice and how to create my own by playing with it. A fun read packed with good advice, easy to understand. A keeper and re-reader.
This is not the usual dry instruction manual on how to become a better writer. I've read many of those. Probably just because English is not my native language. Tom Bentley's book is much different in an enjoyable way and that's exactly what I needed. Instead of providing technocratic step by step procedures in a paint-by-numbers style, Tom invites you into his personal life and tells his story of how he became the writer he is today. But that alone wouldn't do what the title promises. After all, the book is not meant to be a biography. No, Tom has figured out exactly what he needs to say about becoming a better--a great--writer and he wraps his personal adventures, aha-moments and musing around it in a way that it's actually fun to read. The book itself is an example of what he teaches throughout the book. Personally I much enjoyed the rich, vivid, figurative language, the many metaphors, and the concise descriptions in this book. This is a very good example of edutainment well done. And if one catches fire, the author provides plenty of resources for further reading.
I love to learn from people who are open to sharing their experiences and Tom does this very well. As a 3x author, I am always looking for new writing tips and strategies to just get my butt in the chair and get the words on paper. This guide is very readable, easy to follow, and delivers a ton of huge takeaways. Think Like A Writer will be in my library for years to come and I look forward to revisiting it when I prepare to write my next book. Definitely worth much more than you'll pay for it.