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on 24 June 2007
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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on 1 July 2007
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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on 29 May 2010
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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on 1 June 2007
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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on 11 May 2007
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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on 29 September 2014
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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on 13 July 2008
At last a 'how to' book on writing that doesn't preach to its readers. Wenham-Jones' writing style is funny, making the book a page-turner anyway but, for me, it's the fact that her approach is totally down-to-earth, realistic and not too highbrow that makes it a winner. The author shares her own struggles trying to get fiction published and reminds you constantly that hardly anyone creates a masterpiece on their first attempt. Instead she gives all sorts of tips that I found both inspiring and useful, plus lots of useful contacts, websites and groups you can join for support.
If you're serious about your writing, you won't regret buying this book.
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2008
This is a brilliant book. Helped inspire me to keep going with my novel. Great book for anyone trying to finish their novel or wants to have a go at writing.
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on 3 April 2014
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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VINE VOICEon 24 July 2007
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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