Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Book Review: Gentle Writing Advice

The truth is that all of the "writing rules" you've learned are bullshit. Sure, they work for some people, but the likelihood that they'll work for you--unique butterfly of a person that you are--is slim.

That doesn't mean you're out of luck! There is meaningful advice to be had in the writing world, and Chuck Wendig is here to deliver it. In this hilarious guide, Wendig will help you discover more about yourself as a writer, parse through your quirks and foibles, and help you figure out the best way for you to get words on the page--without destroying yourself along the way.

With behind-the-scenes stories of Wendig's own writing struggles, sections on debunking popular advice, self-care tips, and more footnotes than are strictly necessary (or legally recommended by scientists), Gentle Writing Advice will give the unvarnished truth about the writing process and remind you of what's actually important--taking care of the writer. (That's you, by the way.)

Gentle Writing Advice: How To Be a Writer Without Destroying Yourself will be published on June 6, 2023. Penguin Random House provided an early galley for review.

As a lifelong amateur writer, I am always on the look out for helpful books about writing. They benefit me personally with my own scribblings as well as give me insights to share with the monthly writing group I moderate at one of our library branches. As a published writer (with a few dozen novels under his belt), Wendig knows a bit about the process and, no doubt, struggling with it. So, I was eager to hear what he had to offer.

I like that the author tempered his advice as "suggestions", acknowledging that what might have worked for him may not work for all aspiring writers. This is the approach we take with our writing group as well. We will often share tips or approaches that, as I like to say, "can be taken with a grain of salt". There are not any writing commandments that will guarantee instant success.

Wendig's delivery and tone work well for me, but I am also a fan of biting sarcastic humor and am not at all offended by off-color language. If either of these set off your alarms, this might not be the guide for you. I like that his approach kept the topic from being dry or boring. I would gather he and I draw from the same sources and influences based on the various comic book, sci-fi and video game references he sprinkled in. I was entertained as well as enlightened by this one.

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