..a battle-hardened wordslinger's epistles from the front-line.
This is a collection of Chuck Wendig's writing advice blog posts from his [...] site. But don't be thinking "hey, i'll just read the blog and save myself a few squids", because you'd be doing Chuck out of a sale (and the resulting 1/5th of a bottle of booze), plus you'd miss out on the addenda gracing many of the more popular entries.
This isn't advice from the sterile environment of the classroom, where a smartly dressed teacher patiently explains the finer points of simile and metaphor. This is advice shouted at you by an ink-stained proto-human, living next to the presses and wearing only a loin cloth made from rejection letters. It's not about sentence construction or grammar - Chuck assumes that you know the English language - its about sitting down to write, finishing work, getting it edited and having skin thicker than a whale omelette when it comes to being knocked back.
a) Chuck's inventive use of profanity to get his point across. And therein lies the first warning: Should you find word-filth offensive or off-putting, under no circumstances buy this book. If however, in your day-to-day life, you find yourself inventing new swear-words because the official portfolio just doesn't say what you feel, then Chuck will be a kindred spirit.
b) The implicit lesson that, by and large, a writers worst enemy is him/herself. They're lazy, drunken and will do anything to avoid actually sitting down and putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. They whine and whinge when rejected, they start new projects before finishing current ones and, because they're a special snowflake set free from a cloud of pure creativity, base activities such as being paid are an affront to their 'art'. Second warning - if you have a problem with someone repeatedly handing you a verbal arse-kicking - again, you might want to reconsider your purchase.
c) I've actually read Chuck's fiction. So many writing books come from authors I've never heard of or read. I got into Chuck's fiction (Blackbirds: (Angry Robot): 1) before realising he had a blog or writing advice books. As a result - these are lessons from someone I actually respect as being an accomplished author. Ok - he may not be for everyone, but he gets two thumbs up from this corner.
It's practical, it's uncompromising and in many places it's brutal. I'm not an author - but I enjoyed it immensely.
This book is about how to be a writer, specifically a novelist. If you haven't read anything by this author you may be surprised by both the amount, and the creativity of the profanities used. Personally I find lots of them bloody hilarious, and others have me rapidly searching the Urban Dictionary.
The basis of this book can be found at the terribleminds.com blog. However additional reflective passages after each essay provide added value. I found this to be easy to read, informative, and inspiring. The most useful lesson I garnered from these essays were the reality checks. There is something really inspiring about a person that is able to give you their story warts and all. Learning from the actions of others can save so much time and bolster a flagging spirit in times of doubt.
I chuckled quite a lot reading this book. Of course when I read the funny parts out to my wife I just got "that stare".
The main reason I read this book now is that I want to be Mr Wendig's wombat warmer. That's not right. I am writing a 25k word Masters dissertation soon and need to improve the planning aspect of my writing. That's better I think.
I now have a few techniques and ideas that I am sure are transferrable to my technical writing. I've also been inspired by the Flash Fiction challenges on terribleminds.com and have posted a couple which I think I can now go back and improve some more.
There is a lot of emphasis on how important editing is to the writing process, and again I believe this is something that can be taken into any walk of life. From technical reports, to emailing your boss, clarity is king (or queen). There are a few typos that spoil the flow on occasion, but generally this is a well laid out and easy to read book. I can certainly see myself using the excellent contents page to look up particular essays in the future.
I enjoyed this book, as I did Irregular Creatures (buy that too). I have gained knowledge that will hopefully help improve myself and that alone makes this book worth the money for me. If you read the Acknowledgements page without laughing your soul is dead. Try it, read it now.
Oh, and I read this out loud before posting it (you'll have to read the book to find out why).
This won't be to everyone's taste. Crass. Takes itself seriously while simultaneously not taking itself seriously. Lots of penile references. It's also somewhat hectoring. But as someone attempting to be a writer (who enjoys clever genital humour and flights of fancy that often involve genitals), I needed it. My editing needed it. My planning too. I now feel a little ashamed by what I've been letting myself get away with. 'Shame' is not what I usually look for in a book, but it's very effective in this scenario. Five stars!