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75 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical, practical and inspiring
I've just finished reading this book - literally couldn't put it down. As well as being a really good book about writing, this is also very funny. I woke my husband by snorting out loud at her descriptions of genres. I loved the fact that the book is broken in to short sections so you can dip in and out if you want to. There is also really good practical advice about how...
Published on 24 Jun 2007 by Literary Lunatic

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing chit-chat style that couple be condensed into a pamphlet
I was really disappointed by this book that looked just right for me, judging by the cover. The chatty style and constant digressions are both annoying. There are several useful tips, usually gleaned from other writers, but they don't warrant a whole book. The book sets out to be comprehensive but the author's knowledge is not. Her description of writing groups, based on...
Published on 29 May 2010 by Make&Boo


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75 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical, practical and inspiring, 24 Jun 2007
This review is from: Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success) (Paperback)
I've just finished reading this book - literally couldn't put it down. As well as being a really good book about writing, this is also very funny. I woke my husband by snorting out loud at her descriptions of genres. I loved the fact that the book is broken in to short sections so you can dip in and out if you want to. There is also really good practical advice about how to start, how to keep going, how other writers do it. But it's not just about writing, it's also about the writing business. Much as I've dabbled for years, I've decided now to apply my posterior to the chair and get on with it but I'd never even thought about what happens once the deal is made (dear God the thought of a promotional tour - must take the advice to get fit now!). The most important thing is that it has inspired me to actually do it and keep going. I'm going to read this again along with Stephen King's 'On Writing' whenever I'm lacking inspiration or direction. Plus if Jane's fiction writing is as funny as this book, I'm off to buy her other stuff.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need this book!, 1 July 2007
By 
Maria McCarthy (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success) (Paperback)
Like many authors, the path to publication has been a long one for me. I only wish Jane's book had been around when I first started out - it would have made the whole process quicker, easier and less angst-ridden!

Wannabe a Writer is packed with information - and unlike many books in this field it's honest and up-to-date rather than vague and waffley. From getting started to getting an agent, this book will be like having an experienced, funny, helpful friend at your side. Buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!!!!!, 30 Sep 2014
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As a wannabe writer and having submitted several short stories without success I am currently only on page 54 of this book and can identify my mistakes already!
There are no frills with this book, Jane writes it as it is which I love, yes it is hilarious but sooooo right! I have just ordered Wannabe part 2 - Jane is my new hero, thank you for sharing not only your own thoughts and experiences but those of many other much loved authors as well.
If you yearn to see your writing in the glossy's or on the best seller shelf then this book is a must have!!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing chit-chat style that couple be condensed into a pamphlet, 29 May 2010
This review is from: Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success) (Paperback)
I was really disappointed by this book that looked just right for me, judging by the cover. The chatty style and constant digressions are both annoying. There are several useful tips, usually gleaned from other writers, but they don't warrant a whole book. The book sets out to be comprehensive but the author's knowledge is not. Her description of writing groups, based on visits since she's never belonged to one, is insulting and inaccurate.

Get this book if you want a vaguely amusing easy read but if you're serious about writing, there are plenty of other books that can help. The most important thing, of course, is to GET WRITING!
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60 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not all that..., 31 May 2008
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This review is from: Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success) (Paperback)
First off, credit where credit's due. The first third of the book (around 100 pages) that deals with planning, motivation, how to generate ideas, and that feeling all beginners get of "where the hell do I start?" is excellent. Indeed, it is very comforting to discover that many writers (even accomplished ones) are in the same boat when it comes to dealing with the dreaded writers block, finding things to write about, research, and a myriad of other problems that a writer must overcome to succeed. The author does a good job in making you realise this.

However...

Once you move into the middle part, the book seems to take on a whole new agenda. The author develops a penchant for RELENTLESSLY plugging her other books at every given opportunity. I guess this is fairly amusing for the first few instances, until it becomes apparent that she frequently makes reference to almost everything she's ever written, why you should read it, and where it is available to purchase etc.

You also get the impression that her relationship with the books external contributors (i.e. friends, fellow writers, agents, publishers, and general contacts) amounts to nothing more than a matey (I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine') love-in that becomes increasingly nauseating from the readers point of view. It's as if the author has agreed to advertise work of these contributors in exchange for their (often not so enlightening) tips and advice, whilst singing their praises from the rafters and telling the reader what great work he/she has accomplished (followed by the inevitable plugging of their books, magazine columns and websites etc).

She contradicts herself when advising that a writer shouldn't harbour any notion of having a `proper job', yet towards the end changes tack to declare (something along the lines of) that writing is a mugs game, there's only a very slim chance of making a living from it, and it's probably best to stick to the day job. This is fine if the author is being honest and realistic- but why divulge the former advice in the first place? Isn't this going against the purpose of the book? Such advice could prove be very discouraging and disheartening (not to myself I must add) to anyone just starting out who `wannabe a writer'.

All of the above distracts from the main purpose of the book- how to become a writer. You also really begin to question the motives of the author, who in the first part of the book appears to be so genuine and full of helpful advice, but then seems become more self-indulgent and concerned with stoking the egos of her buddies in the publishing world.

This is a shame...

In summing up, I would recommend this book, for the sole reason that it's one of the few books (on the subject of creative writing) that's written in a humorous witty manner, to which the aspiring writer can identify. However, I cannot attribute anymore than the 3 stars given due to the reasons I've specified, together with the fact that other forms of creative writing (other than the novel) are sparsely covered, and meant to inject more humour into the proceedings as opposed to being helpful in any way (see TV/film scripts, plays, short stories and memoir sections for example).

If I was to recommend a book which I consider to be the `bible' on the subject of creative writing (and believe me I've read quite a few of them!), it would have to be `On Writing' by Stephen King, which I've just finished.
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53 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise from a 'wannabe' a better writer, 1 Jun 2007
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This review is from: Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success) (Paperback)
Every now and again there comes along a book that I wish I'd written. Wannabe a Writer by Jane Wenham-Jones is one of those books. Now I may be slightly biased because two members of my writing group, several fellow Sexy Shorts contributors (I write as Sally Quilford) and my favourite thriller writer of all time, Freddie Forsyth (how jealous am I that Jane got to speak to him?) grace its pages with words of wisdom. But I think I can be objective about a book that will do new writers a load of good.

First of all I like it because Jane Wenham-Jones is obviously one of us. By 'one of us' I mean an unpretentious writer who knows that you have to work bloody hard and not be too snobby about putting your work around or where you send it. What's more she sounds as though she's a good night out! I laughed out loud more than once, yet still learned a lot.

Jane has a great witty style, but amongst the jokes is solid advice about how to become a writer, how to behave when you are one, and how to survive the trials and tribulations. She mixes her own, often hilarious, experiences with those of other writers, including how to get an agent (and how not to, though I fear people without Jane's natural charm and vivacity might now try her way), how to submit a manuscript and how to behave with editors and agents when they have your tome. There are also chapters on writers' bum, and the other stresses that go with writing. Yes, there are stresses. It isn't all just sitting in front of a computer and putting your dreams down. You have to be prepared for those dreams to be trampled on. Jane does not gild the lily and neither do the dozens of writers who have contributed to this book. By the way, I don't know if it's just me, but the male writers seemed to worry a lot less about all the other stuff writers have to do in their lives. Presumably because they've got a woman in their life to do it for them!

This book is good for wannabe writers, and those like me who are writing with small success but 'wannabe' doing better. For me it was good to read that I'm not the only writer who procrastinates, eats too much, drinks too much, cries over rejections and generally feels that everyone else in the writing world is doing much better than me. There's also a good chapter on literary snobbery which I'd quite like to tattoo on some peoples' foreheads.

Wannabe A Writer has joined Stephen King's On Writing as my favourite unpretentious book about writing. One message that rang out loud and clear is that a sense of humour is compulsory.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When this wonderful book..., 11 May 2007
By 
Sara Lawrence (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success) (Paperback)
arrived in the post, I was busy as hell finishing a piece on deadline. Within minutes of opening it up however, I became so gripped I had to take to my bed - with it and the largest packet of crisps I could find, naturally - only to emerge when I'd read it cover to cover. Having achieved almost nothing on the work front, I at least came down the stairs with a massive smile on my face.

Funny, accessible, shot through with excellent quotes and tips from myriad writers, journalists, agents and publishers, the best thing about it is Jane Wenham-Jones's friendly tone. Reading it feels like a knowledgable, fun and only slightly alcoholic mentor is gently guiding you through the various steps on the road to not only writing a manuscript, but also the best ways of getting agents and publishers to notice the damn thing.

I thought it was so perfectly thorough without being off-putting in the slightest that I immediately sent a copy to a 'wannabe writer' friend. She just phoned and thanked me for 'the best present' I've 'ever' given her. Nuff said!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wanna be a writer?, 29 Sep 2014
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Jane Denham-Jones has a fabulous way with words and a great sense of humour which flows in and out of the pages. At some point I intend to write my own book, and I'm so glad I read Jane's book first. Definitely worth a read x. Amanda R.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, informative guide to getting published..., 3 April 2014
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Exactly as the label says £hilarious, informative guide to getting published." A useful guide for all new and 'not so new' writers who need a little bit of guidance
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for those who want to learn more about writing without reading dull text books!, 24 July 2007
By 
Lucy Felthouse (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success) (Paperback)
Having savoured Jane's advice in Writing Magazine, and enjoyed her novel Perfect Alibis, it was the next logical step to read her book about writing. Released in May 2007, Wannabe a Writer? is crammed full of hints and tips to help would-be writers make it to the top. Or at least to publication, anyway.

Wenham-Jones' easy and humourous style are consistent throughout this book, making it a pleasant read - you're being given valuable information without feeling as though you're being lectured. The wit and jokes also add a little something to this book, as do Jane's comments about "do as I say, not as I do" - then she goes on to detail how she did something completely wrong and was humiliated. The way she puts herself down reminds the reader that although some writers earn millions, some thousands, and some even less, we're all human. Nobody is any more "special" than anybody else, and with the right amount of talent, hard work, and luck, there's no reason why every writer shouldn't have a book or two on the shelves in WHSmith's.

The layout of the book means you can dip in and out of it easily, and even just read the bits that apply to you. Overall, a very useful book telling you everything you need to know about becoming a published writer - and some other stuff you didn't need to know, but hey! Definitely recommended for those who want to learn more without reading dull text books.
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Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success)
Wannabe a Writer? (Secrets to Success) by Jane Wenham-Jones (Paperback - 1 May 2007)
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