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Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life [Paperback]

Douglas Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Canon Press (16 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591280990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591280996
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 929,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book by Douglas Wilson

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wilson writes with his usual wit, wisdom and enthusiasm on a subject dear to his heart. Basically it does what it says and provides writers of all stages (and ages) tips and guidance for good writing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  44 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, One Of The Best Out There 17 Jan 2012
By Bradley Bevers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Douglas Wilson has already written more books then the average American will read in their lifetime. His writing advice on his blog has been among the most popular content for a long time, and I was excited to see a book that expanded on his simple, effective tips. I was not disappointed. As a publisher, I have read a number of books on writing and advice for authors, and this is among the best.

Each of Wilson's seven writing tips has its own chapter, where 7 more sub-tips are given and additional books are recommended. I love the style that this book is written in. It is easily digestible, and will improve your writing immediately. His first two chapters are on living a real life and on reading more. I can't imagine a better start to a writing book.

I am a frequent highlighter/book-marker, but this book is so short and focused that there is really no need to highlight. All of the material is very good and easily referenced when you need a pick-me-up or a good kick in the pants. Wilson's writing is not a dry list of rules to follow, but a seriously funny guide to the writing life. It will make you laugh out loud and convict your own conscience in one fell swoop.

Some of my favorite quotes from Chapter 1:

"Your writing advances a particular view of the world. Pretending that it doesn't just confuses everybody, starting with you." (21)

"Interesting people are interested people." (23)

"Mark Twain once defined a classic as a book that everyone wanted to have read, but which no one wanted to read. In a similar spirit, lots of folks want to be "a writer" because they have had a few great ideas for a television script. They want to be a writer but are not all that thrilled about actually writing. They don't want to write, they want to have written." (25)

Buy it, you won't be disappointed. If you are at all interested in writing, this is the place to start. Highly Recommended.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and thoughtful 30 May 2012
By S. Grotzke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Point: You may think you are the next writing genius, but chances are you will have to muddle, labor, fail, and suffer through the process of becoming a good writer. That is the good news. The bad news can wait for another book.

Path: Wilson gives a series of seven broad suggestions to the writer. Because a writer is first an individual, he challenges the reader to become a better person so they might become a better writer. Therefore this book is not so much about where to put a comma, or how to find an editor, as it is on how to become an individual who has something to say.
The seven tips are as follows:
Know something about the world, and by this I mean the world outside of books.
Read. Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write. Read until your brain creaks.
Read mechanical helps.
Stretch before your routines.
Be at peace with being lousy for a while.
Learn other languages, preferably languages that are upstream from ours.
Keep a commonplace book.
Each of these tips receives a chapter which is then divided into seven more ideas to strengthen the main tip. At the end of the chapter Wilson leaves the reader with some outside reading.

Sources: Obviously an avid read, Wilson leaves the reader with a taste of Chesterton, Wodehouse, and the Scriptures.

Agreement: I enjoyed reading this humorous little book and it encouraged me to write. I need to write poems, stories, articles, and novels. I need to write something even when no one will ever read it. Not only did he encourage me to write, but he encouraged me to listen. I need to listen to those around me, listen to those I read, listen to what is being said.

Personal App: As Chesterton has said, anything worth doing is worth doing badly. I might as well get started.

Favorite Quote: "I estimate that my iPhone is the equivalent of having one hundred thousand servants. The problem is that about ninety thousand of those servants of mine are sitting on their butt all the time."

This would be a good book for someone who is interested in writing pretty much anything. If you are a blogger - buy this. If you are planning to write children stories - buy this. If you just like to read - buy this, you may start writing.

I plan on reading it again. Probably a few times. Some just to laugh, others to be reminded that I need to be listening, reading, and writing more.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars blows other writing books out of the water 3 Feb 2012
By GMBurrahobbit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've read a number of fantastic books on writing--books so inspiring, they're hard to finish because I'm constantly dropping them to start practicing what they teach. Doug Wilson's "Wordsmithy" is up there with the best of them. It's staying right here on my desk, and it isn't going to get dusty.

Some of Wilson's punchiest lines:

"You are a wordsmith. Remember that you are in the smithy all day long." (22)

"If you want to say a lot, you have to have a lot to say." (24)

"If you 'write by rule' only, then...you will come up [with] something that is equally free of both vice and virtue, like a verbal tapioca pudding made with skim milk." (32)

"The quality of what you keep will be directly proportional to how much you are willing to throw away." (81)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tapestry of Good Advice 10 April 2012
By David Henry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Another book by Pastor Doug Wilson, another home run. This one, though, is of a different type. He's blessed us with theology, simultaneously instructed and entertained us with fiction, but this particular bit of advice is unique. In Wordsmithy, he teaches us how to live like a writer.

There are plenty of writing manuals out there on how write well-- how to craft a story, craft a sentence, place a comma. These are great, and have their place. In Wordsmithy, on the other hand, Wilson teaches us how to live the kind of life that will produce writing worth reading. His advice ranges from tips on what sort of stuff to read, how not to take yourself too seriously, and how to live in the real world, not just the comfortable padded armchair of writer-land.

The gist of the book is that to write well, one must live well. If you don't know what the world is like, you can hardly write about it. Closely related is the idea that you must love the world before you can write well about it. If you take no joy in the subject, neither will your readers.

The advice is far more specific, and clothed in gems of wit and little connections between tips that integrate the whole thing into a tapestry of good advice. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to be a writer.

[...]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilson Delivers. 10 Feb 2012
By Michael Bering Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With color and acumen, Douglas Wilson presents cogent and relevant writing wisdom in "Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life."

This book is well-written, entertaining, and insightful for readers, writers, and aspiring pens alike. Wilson does not prescribe mechanical techniques, but instead presents a way of living life as a writer, a constant learner, and a consistent reader to shape your person. As a result, your writing will be genuine, original, unique, colorful, and your life will be equally descriptive.

I have recommended this book to friends and highly recommend it to you.

Do buy a copy.
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