- File Size: 2935 KB
- Print Length: 74 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing (October 28, 2016)
- Publication Date: October 28, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01M67B3C0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
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- #3079 in Books > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Publishing & Books > Authorship
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Writers on Writing Vol.4: An Author's Guide Kindle Edition
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Writers on Writing Books 1-3 were good (I have to see if I actually reviewed them, perhaps not [only Vol. 3 did I miss]). Book 4 is absolutely stupendous.
This book has writers of the horror genre (notice I did NOT say horror writers) who take you through parts of writing in a way that I’ve never actually been taught before. Perhaps because of sitting in a room of kids (I’m over 40!) talking to each other because the teacher is droning on and on. Here, I’ll prove to you I’m over 40: think of the teacher in Peanuts. There you go.
Maybe because I am a visual learner rather than a aural learner, a professor talking at me is not conducive to me learning. In this book, I found myself highlighting almost every other passage. What good is this, I said to myself. Then I changed colors and made a note to myself what each color means. I will probably draw out these bon mots later so I can keep them in my head.
Although I do NOT like poetry, at all, nope, I did read the first essay, Blunt-Force Trauma by Stephanie M. Wytovich. What can it hurt, right? Well, it can bore you to death – except this doesn’t. What she writes about can be used in any type of writing, in any genre. I’m glad I read it.
Happy Little Trees by Michael Knost compares writing to the art done by Bob Ross (see, more proof I’m over 40!). He explained how Mr. Ross used depth by adding layer after layer, until there is a complete landscape, full of trees, mountains, etc. which you really never saw coming until the final brush stroke and you sat there with your jaw dropped. This is how you write, Mr. Knost suggests. Add layer upon layer to character, setting, what have you. As he shows us with his words how to do this, we look back at the essay and see the layers he has given us, and think, WOW.
An essay I wanted to skip, Networking is Scary, But Essential, by Doug Murano, is excellent. For us writers who write in secret even from our families (I don’t know what my husband thinks I’m up to!) Mr. Murano urges us from our comfort zone of quiet solitude into the scary world of networking. His examples do not make networking any less scary, but explains why we must overcome our timidity to actually do it.
Are You In the Mood by Sheldon Higdon explains mood better than any professor I ever had. He takes Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House and explains how mood is used. I must re-read it with these new ideas in my head, because, well to me it was “just” a horror story. Now I know better. If I could just find a copy of it!
In What If Every Novel is a Horror Novel by Steve Diamond is an eye-opener. He gives us examples of books where we may not expect to find horror, and explains why a particular scene is a horror scene. A few examples: Michael Connelly? Yep. Tom Clancy? Come on, you have to be kidding. One of the books he suggests, yep. Horror is not just ghosts or witches or vampires. It can be when a drug dealer/pimp knows you have one of your girls and chases you down. I must admit that scene in Without Remorse scared me to death.
Description by Patrick Freivald gives a writer comfort. No matter how much blood, sweat, and tears you may put into a scene, character, description – you can never tell a reader how to interpret it. You just cannot. This gives a greater freedom in writing because you are finally blessed with knowing that no matter what you do, your readers will take from your writing what they want to, not what you want them to.
Long Night’s Journey Into . . . This? by William Gorman was especially interesting to me. He wrote one of my first books from Crystal Lake Publishing, Blackwater Val. (If you haven’t read this and want to catch an author from the beginning, this is a good start. I did not know this was his first.) This essay takes us through what it is truly like to write a novel. I’m sure you read about this from other authors, but Mr. Gorman hit my gut. Usually when I read about from writer to publication, I don’t really believe it is that horrific. I believe, Mr. Gorman, I believe.
I like his call out to Joe Mynhardt. His most important advice: watch out for bad advice. Just write with your passion. Forget what everyone else tells you, just participate in your passion.
I Am Setting by J.S. Breaukelaar, starts out with another sample of Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House. S/He explains that, “When setting works, it should speak that simple truth.” What is the simple truth? HA! Read this essay. It is a simple truth! The explanation of every scene in fiction moves through a rough event-crisis-resolution pattern. Now, I know that, I truly do. This essay explains WHY, not just DO IT THIS WAY. This is incredibly helpful, because I am a WHY? person.
Finding Your Voice by Lynda E. Rucker explains, again, better than any professor I’ve ever had, what voice IS. As she says, “A strong voice is often what makes the difference between publication and rejection.” There is a lot of information in this essay, and is one of those I have used several colors in.
I hope I gave a short enough of a synopsis of each essay to show that each, while distinctly different, helps new writers completely. Nothing in this book is completely new, yet is completely fresh. When I take my next writing class, I will be better prepared to understand exactly what I am learning. I will tune out the talkers (other than the professor) and learn to listen in order to write. This book has taught me that.
In the fourth volume of essays from writers, for writers, you will find ten very different, very interesting essays on the art and craft of writing. From discussion on theme and setting, mood and character development to Poetry, finding your muse and networking.
I was particularly fond of Steve Diamond's essay on horror, discussing whether it is a genre or more of a tone and style.
If you are a writer then this four volume series is definitely a must read, which I honesly thing will be talked about for years to come as a great guide for writers. Even if you are not a writer, but a reader, and lover of books these essays will give you something else, something different. An understanding of the process, and a knowledge on the craft, that will surely elevate your enjoyment of the books you will read, for all of the subtle nuances you come across will have a greater and more substantial meaning to you.
Okay, this is the fourth, and last in the series of Writers on Writing. If you haven't read the previous three, why the heck not? Go back and read them, especially the piece by Jack Ketchum. I'm not going to tell which one it's in, find it for yourself!
The articles range right across the writing spectrum, from the opener, which covers writing poetry (dark poetry, but the advice holds true for all forms) to finding your voice, and what that actually means.
There's something to take away from each piece, and I suspect that every reader will find something inside that gives them that 'aha' moment that we're all looking for. I found mine in a piece on social networking, so go figure.
If you're a writer that wants to really explore your craft, these four books are for you.