Reviews

The reviews section is going to contain brief book reviews and notes that I have taken usually on books about writing. Strangely enough though I was an English teacher for about half of my teaching career and then taught introductory English courses at our local college for many years I have never really investigated the accumulated store of knowledge on how to write fiction. I thought you just sat down, brilliant plots exploded in your brain and you wrote until your fingers were sore.  That I realize now is a sure path to writer’s block or just as bad a dead end in your story that you can’t seem to write your way out of.

So since May I have been reading probably 4 or 5 books on various writing topics each month and this review section will hold the posts where I let you know about the books I consider to be amongst the best of the ones I have worked through. You are getting the perspective of a person who has had a great deal of editorial experience as both a composition teacher and as a writer of various curriculum programs in teaching computer programming. In addition I am currently the editor of Watercolour News, which is the quarterly newsletter of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour so I have a fairly strong knowledge of copy editing but somehow I never got around to learning about writing fiction.

That has been changing rapidly. A sample of the books to be reviewed include:

  • K M Weiland, Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success, this is my recommendation for those who have only the funds or time for one book, Weiland’s creative and multifaceted approach to “outlining” provides an effective entry into both the creative process and the effective “technical” construction of a story.
  • Randy Ingermanson & Peter Economy , Writing Fiction for Dummies, I know it may not seem a likely choice but Randy and Peter have put together a very smart and thorough book. It covers the whole range of structuring a story through to editing and marketing and along the way provides some insightful discussion of various approaches to writing tasks.
  • Karen S Wiesner, Writing the Fiction Series, though you may be struggling with getting a single novel done if you apply K M Weiland’s suggestions for outlining and exploring the limits of your story you may find that there is more than one novel in your story world waiting to be written. Wiesner outlines the kind of planning, organization and marketing that help make a series of novels a success.
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