Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful book on writing, 28 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Nail Your Novel - Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence (Kindle Edition)
I've spent years looking for a creative release. I've tried various things but time is a major issue with the amount of hours I work. Through the Kindle I rediscovered my passion for reading. The recent e-book phenomena led me down a path of discovery into the life of an independent writer. After reading independent works and endeavouring to make myself useful as a volunteer proof reader I decided to try my hand at writing. The result being, I've begun to consume literature on the subject of writing at a furious pace. Happily, I seem to have found a book that's going to be of considerable use to me. There are plenty I've read that aren't and some of them have very respectable names on the cover. Success doesn't stop even famous authors from stating the obvious in a bland manner page after page.

The first comment is on writing style. This book comes across as light hearted but doesn't contain any fluff. Some teachers lecture while others impart knowledge without you realising. The rigid lecturing style of some works on writing portrays this creative art as a chore from start to finish and attempt to formalise the whole process, which in the end stifles creativity. Roz acknowledges the more difficult aspects of writing and suggests creative exercises to overcome them while satisfying the critical more logical sides of our character. Keeping the critical mind at bay while you create and letting it loose later on is a theme that runs throughout this book.

Some of the exercises regarding the generation of ideas aren't really relevant to me at the moment and won't necessarily match my personality in the future. The use of memory aids and playing games irritates me a little. It reminds of those useless management courses. To be fair the source of a person's creativity is a very personal thing and I'm not trying to generate fresh ideas on a daily basis. However, Roz explains the exercise in such a way that I can adapt the concept to my needs. Roz acknowledges everyone is different and presents her material and concepts as a toolbox for people to use as they see fit.

The section on creating a second draft was a revelation. It may be a common tool that Roz uses but it's the first time it's cropped up in my research. Roz presents rewriting as her preferred method, which suits me down to the ground as I'm a conceptual thinker and I often take a top down iterative approach to problems. I had already decided that was my preferred method after reading the blogs of Andre Jute. An author I've corresponded with on a personal level and respect as a serious intellect. I was happily blasting away at my novel but at the same I was very aware that it had issues. I put these to the back of my mind and carried on. But as I got deeper into the novel I realised the issues were stacking up. The individual problems weren't a worry but managing the inherent complexity of their interaction seemed a little daunting. Reading Nail Your Novel solved all my problems in a few pages with the introduction of the beat sheet. I would've paid the cover price for those few pages alone.

This book methods won't suit everyone but it's a great help if you're a rewriter. This book is brimming with useful practical advice. There isn't any padding to try and justify an extortionate cover price. It's not a lecture by the headmaster; it's one on one tutoring with your favourite teacher. This little book is an invaluable read if you're a new or inexperienced writer.
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