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The Writers and Artists Guide to How to Write Paperback – 24 May 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd; 1 edition (24 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408157179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408157176
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Harry is the author of the Fiona Griffiths series of crime novels, set in Cardiff and featuring a heroine described by the Sunday Times as 'The most startling protagonist in modern crime fiction ... brutal, freakish and totally original.' Harry - slightly less freakish than his creation - lives in Oxford with his wife and young family. He also runs The Writers' Workshop, an editorial consultancy for new writers. His books on Getting Published and How to Write are among the leading titles in their field.

Product Description

About the Author

Harry Bingham has authored five novels for HarperCollins and two non-fiction titles with 4th Estate. He has signed a three book crime series deal with Orion. He was included in WHS Fresh Talent Promotion, was shortlisted for WHS's Thumping Good Read Award, and longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin International Literary Prize. He is author of the Writers and Artists Yearbook Guide to Getting Published, writes for national newspapers, is the founder of the Writers' Workshop and editorial consultancy service.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By AGP on 29 May 2012
Format: Paperback
A lot of these guide books for authors can be heavy going and soul-less, and written by people painfully under qualified to give any sort of advice on how to do it.
Not so with this excellent example of how to write a guide book.
A good guide book should obviously contain lots of useful and practical information, help and professional insight but it's also vital that it's teachings are imparted in an entertaining, engaging and inspiring way and this book does it all.

The advice itself is absolutely invaluable throughout. Everything is covered from character development to plotting, scene and chapter structure to tense and perspective, all with a focus on helping you produce writing of a marketable standard. The information is presented clearly in parts and subsections with useful end of section summaries designed to make navigating the books mine of insight easier (because you will want to refer back to it time after time.)
The section on prose style in itself contains enough jewels to justify purchase but the whole book is rich with advice, points, tips and theories (many of which are clearly demonstrated in practice using excerpts from contemporary and classic published works) which cannot fail to make you a better writer.

I've read this cover to cover with my own work in progress temporarily on pause and already it's improved my style, made my work cleaner and more economic and has even inspired the addition of a fundamental plot element which I didn't see coming and as a result my manuscript is already infinitely better than it was (and that's without even resuming work on it yet.)
I now intend to read it again from front to back with a notebook and pen to hand applying its wealth of knowledge to my work.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul B on 28 May 2012
Format: Paperback
This book covers off all the writing bases from planning through to final editing and does so with aplomb. But what makes it potentially even more useful to an unpublished writer, is the author's knowledge of the publishing industry - in particular his experience in pitching books of all genres to agents through his writing consultancy. As a result the guidance is flavoured with a strong dose of what publishers actually want, which - in a nut shell (depressingly) - is to make money. But the positive message is clear also - write something excellent for the market you are targeting - and you will succeed.

'How to Write' is entertaining as well as clearly written, and the textual examples have a good range. I am in the process of planning a new novel and reading this guide in tandem has helped me wrestle afresh with tricky issues such as the 'motivation of my protagonist' upfront, rather than having to painfully fix the problems afterwards. Anyway that's the plan - why isn't any of this ever easy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By AlanP on 28 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Although this book is called How To Write, I think at base it does a slightly different job. The emphasis is rather more, how to avoid getting it wrong. For me this is no bad thing. A lot of books offering help and guidance in any field tackle their subject by effectively saying the way to do whatever it is is to do it this way; because this is the way I do it. This book approaches the subject by saying, here are the aspects of writing you need to get right. It then presents examples of mistakes to avoid. Combined with selected examples from a wide variety of published works with explanations of why the selected extract does it's job, or doesn't do it, it illustrates what you need to get right and how it can be gotten right, or wrong.

It is no surprise that the book is divided in well delineated sections. The author, Harry Bingham, runs a writers consultancy and the approach feels like well defined lectures, each focussed on their specific subject, plot, character, marketplace, editing, etc etc. The approach in the book almost certainly has it's genesis in the structure of some of the courses that they run.

You don't have to read the whole thing front to back. If you understand marketplace, skip that bit. It's OK to mooch around.

In summary, this isn't going to show you how to write. But if you have it in you to write then it can help you to become a better writer, maybe even a successful one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Nixon on 21 July 2012
Format: Paperback
First off I won't say I've finished this book; I'm quite positive it's going to be in my very small and select collection of "books I am still reading and always will be." Up until now my bible has been Browne and King's "Self Editing for Fiction Writers" but this one has made joint first place. It's written in an easily absorbed style, as if the writer is sitting opposite you and you're having a discussion, so you don't feel at all patronised at any point. It's as if he's agreeing with you before you say anything, and then gently adding his own extremely helpful points.

The subjects were clearly and logically sectioned, and starting with "what is your market" was particularly helpful.
I also liked the naming of the chapter on point of view: "Placing the Camera." Immediately it turns the whole process into one of visualisation, which is what we all do when we write.

This book also tells you it's okay NOT to write. For a while, at least. Many books and online guides insist you keep writing, no matter what, and sort of beats you around the head if you don't. This one carries the following advice for when you hit a difficult spot: "Is it going well, or are you struggling? If the latter, stop." It's not telling you to give up, but advises you write "chapter-by-chapter plans which summarises (the material you're confident of.)Then simply spend time thinking."
Very, very good advice. (Bizarrely, I find that MY best solutions come when I stop writing and play Bejeweled Blitz for a while! It clears my head of clutter and lets the coherent thoughts through.)

Lots of familiar advice in the editing section towards the end, but it's familiar because it works.
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