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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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