24 Oct

Short and Sweet Writing Advice – Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys Review

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys - Review

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys - ReviewSometimes you read a book at exactly the right time to change your world. Algis Budrys’ “Writing to the Point: A Complete Guide to Selling Fiction” was one of those books for me.

Writing to the Point is a short (152 airy pages) yet deep (spanning everything from “Chapter 1: The Basic Basics” to dealing with agents and who to format a manuscript) writing advice book. It took me slightly less than an hour-and-a-half to read, and I haven’t come away from a writing how-to book this turbo-charged in a long, long time. Read More

11 Apr

What Type of Writer are You? – Stages of a Fiction Writer review

Stages of a Fiction Writer

Stages of a Fiction WriterSo I’m a stage 2 writer. Or maybe early stage 3. I don’t know. And until I read Dean Wesley Smith’s “Stages of a Fiction Writer”, I had no idea what any of that meant.

Stages of a Fiction Writer is a short book. Very short. It doesn’t have very much concrete content. And yet it’s eminently readable. I should know, I’ve read it twice now. Read More

02 Oct

How to Write a Novel without an Outline – Writing into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith review

Feeling of reading, Dean Wesley Smith quote

Feeling of reading, Dean Wesley Smith quoteI’m a pantser, the type of writer who loves to go off unprepared and discover the story as I write it. Every single work on the technical side of writing I’ve read up to this point has, more or less explicitly, spoken of outlines. Made me feel like an idiot for not being able to use one.

Along comes “Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline” and it’s all about pantsing, or writing into the dark as Dean Wesley Smith calls it. Reading it was like being six years old and finding the secret hiding place of the cookie jar. Read More

31 Aug

An Overview of the Craft: The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer, Review

Boost of Motivation, Novel Writer's Toolkit review Quote

Boost of Motivation, Novel Writer's Toolkit review QuoteSometimes you get handed a book that you wouldn’t have bought in a million years and it turns out to contain grains of pure gold. Bob Mayer’s “The Novel Writer’s Toolkit” was one of those for me.

Overview

Bob Mayer is a rather accomplished writer, both in terms of books published (over 60) and money earned (unknown but from what he says “good”). He knows what he’s talking about and he isn’t shy about using himself as an example.

In The Novel Writer’s Toolkit (TNWT) Mayer presents 9 tools (read themes) dealing with everything a writer needs to know, from personal insights (common traits of successful writers, knowing why you write, etc.) to more commonplace advice on plot, theme, character creation and similar.

In some areas The Novel Writer’s Toolkit shines when compared to regular writer’s books, such as the focus on selling and making a career and the key to defining your kernel idea (writing to a premise sentence), which makes the book stand out from the pack. Read More

24 Aug

The Guide to a Professional Writing Career – Douglas Smith’s “Playing the Short Game” Review

Write and submit, rinse and repeat, Douglas Smith quote

Write and submit, rinse and repeat, Douglas Smith quote I can’t tell you what you should write. That’s entirely up to you. But if you are the least bit interested in having a career as a fiction writer then I can tell you what to read: Douglas Smith’s “Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction”. From now on this is my go-to book for all things related to starting and maintaining my fiction writing career. Read More

20 Mar

ReWork – An Energy Kick in Your Creative Pants – Review

ReWork Cover ImageSome books give you knowledge. Some books give you energy. Rework is firmly in the energy category.

Rework is written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson and is culled from their (and their coworkers’ ) blog at 37signals.com. Fried and Heinemeier are the men behind Basecamp, the collaborative platform, and several other lean productivity products and while I haven’t personally used Basecamp but I’ve heard good things about it.

Rework is a condensed version of their blog, so if you’ve been following that I’m guessing that you’ll recognize quite a lot. But if you haven’t read the blog, well, Rework puts the common, dinosaur, assumptions about running a company on their collective heads. Read More

03 Jun

Review – The Game Inventor’s Guidebook by Brian Tinsman

The Game Inventor's Guidebook by Brian TinsmanI got Brian Tinsman’s The Game Inventor’s Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between![amazon template=f_textamazon&asin=1600374476] thinking that it would be similar in scope and concept to Jessie Schell’s A book of Lenses[amazon template=f_textamazon&asin=0123694965] but from a business standpoint: something that would go through the different steps and hurdles of getting your game published and point out the things to look out for.

Not quite. Read More