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Writers on Writing Volume 1 - 4 Omnibus: An Author's Guide Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the subjects covered in this book include how you can learn from rejection, making time for writing, character building, finding your voice, how to network, what to expect from writing your first novel and much more. In Brian Hodge's article, The Infrastructure Of The Gods he gives tips on getting started. Such as getting rid of distractions like turning off your wi-fi and remembering that instant gratification is not something you get from writing a novel. Brian also gives good advice on never giving up because new authors are always breaking through into the mainstream.
Another one I liked was What Right Do I Have To Write by Jasper Bark. Jasper talks about how the circumstances are never right for writing. There are always excuses not to do it but the only thing you can do is make the time and let nothing get in your way. I also like how he shoots down the fantasy that writing is a dream job. He says its fun sometimes but you are working under nightmare conditions, you may spend up to a year completing your first work and even the pros laugh at the idea that writing is a dream job.
One beneficial article in this collection is Finding Your Voice by Lynda E. Rucker. I would have thought that finding your voice would come natural but in reality it takes awhile. Lynda mentions that it took a long time for her to create a voice that wasn't an imitation of another author's voice. She then states that finding your voice is the same as finding your identity. The way to find it is by realizing you have something to say and what you think is important. One thing I learned here is that there are several important aspects to writing.
Even if you're not a writer and read this book you can get a lot out of it, such as a whole new respect for writing as an art form . My favorite part of this book was entitled A First-Time Novelist's Odyssey by William Gorman. William takes you all through his five-year journey in writing his novel from doing research, living with the characters in your head, and getting their story just right. He talks about the struggle to find his voice and the massive amounts of revisions before the book was finally published. Writing maybe the most complex art form there is and Writers On Writing is a book that can help you on the path to being a better writer and possibly getting published too.
These are not dry craft essays laying out the mechanics of good writing, but genuine homilies of encouragement, practical advice and guidance to steer a would-be author.
I won’t give a detailed critique of each article but, instead, mention a few highlights that will hopefully encourage you to grab a copy:
THE WRITER’S PURGATORY: Between Finishing the First Draft and Submitting the Manuscript by Monique Snyman
This piece kicks off the anthology and deals with the often laborious process of self-editing through to submission/self-publishing. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive manual but touches on the most important aspects of this journey in an engaging way.
GO PACE YOURSELF by Jack Ketchum
This was one of my favourites. A very good piece about how to create different moods by structuring sentences e.g. varying length, tone etc. A true lesson from the master.
A LITTLE INFUSION OF MAGIC by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
Much is said about a writer ‘finding their voice,’ but Mr Brendon de Burgh gives some motivational advice on writing what you love to read and dealing with lack of motivation and discouragement.
NEVER LOOK AWAY: Confronting Your Fears in Fiction by Todd Keisling
An excellent essay for the horror writer. It encourages writers to be visceral where such scenes are required and not to shy away from describing the unthinkable.
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING by Tim Waggoner
Where finding the emotional theme of your story comes to the fore. This one really got me thinking about my own outlining process, and also how to analyse classic horror stories in terms of telling the story that lies underneath the plot.
11 SIGNPOSTS FOR GOING ALL THE WAY by Brian Hodge (in two parts.)
This chapter brings home another strength of the collection – advice that is up to date and relevant. Here, Brian Hodge gives his slant on living the writer's life, dealing with conflict and being professional. It also includes my favourite phrase in the book – ‘They squandered it on goblins.’
EMBRACING YOUR INNER S***NESS by James Everington.
This one starts with that famous quote from Hemmingway and then proceeds to give one author’s view about how to navigate through this stage of novel writing. It includes the suggestion that writing 1st drafts benefits from the old pen to paper approach. Not everyone will agree about the specifics. For example, the exhortation to not read yesterday’s work is not something that I adhere to. I find I benefit from Val Mcdermid’s approach, where looking over yesterday's writing helps a writer get into the flow of the coming day’s scene. However, I will be taking on board the tip to underline the bits that are good in the first draft as well as looking for the mistakes, and the practice of reverse engineering the outline.
THE FORGOTTEN ART OF SHORT STORY by Mark Allan Gunnells
I was drawn to this one because of the reference to Ray Bradbury. The short story lends itself well to dark fiction and every author should at least travel down this road once or twice. The golden nugget in this excellent chapter was the notion that the reader of a short story should feel like the tale is finished and not merely a tease. Something I was guilty of in my last publication. Something else I agreed with was the nudge to buy anthologies of short stories to get a feel for an author you wouldn’t necessarily have sampled by other means..
SUBMIT (TO PSYCHOLOGY) FOR ACCEPTANCE by Daniel I. Russell
Fascinating chapter from a writer with a psychology background. Have you heard of Self serving bias and false uniqueness effect? This might be a very grounding article for most authors – it certainly was for me..
CHARACTER BUILDING: How Not to be a Stalker by Theresa Derwin
In which the idea of letting characters lead you as a writer is de-mythologised and includes some great tips for moving from character generation exercise to an actual scene. Also, how to introduce backstory without info-dump.
HEROES AND VILLAINS by Paul Kane
An unusual treatise about the interplay between these two archetypes. Many examples are touched upon, including Sherlock Holmes and Moriarti. The question of can one survive without the other? is also addressed.
CHARACTERS by Hal Bodner
Another one of my favourites. Concrete examples dealing with the tricky skill of ‘showing’ character’s traits and drip feeding their descriptions in your narrative, using devices that employ the reactions of the character to their circumstances.
FICTIONAL EMOTIONS; EMOTIONAL FICTIONS by James Everington
Another good one. Something at the core of writing - how to emotionally engage the reader. The importance of allowing them to fill in the blanks, and that engagement for the reader can be with characters, the plot and the setting.
NETWORKING IS SCARY, BUT ESSENTIAL by Doug Murano
The mindset you need for successful networking. This was pertinent for me as it highlighted the Horror Writer’s Association (which I have recently joined) and the benefits of getting involved in such organisations.
These were just a few of the essays on offer, and there was a wealth of information presented in the remaining articles which I haven’t included above.
To sum up, this is a worthy tome that will make its home on any writer’s bookshelf alongside Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and Kurt Vonnegut’s list of 10.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There seems to be endless how-to essays and books on writing. I’ve read a handful and numerous blog posts, much of the time these read like reheated...Read more
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Although I am not a published author, I have been a widely voracious reader for six decades, and a...Read more
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