A (not so) quick note on writing manuals

There are some things that any aspiring writer has done at some point in their career. We have all imagined ourselves brunching in New York with our super-agents, we have all written a mean, spiteful review (if not online, then in our heads) of someone we were jealous of, and we have all, without exception, read a “How To” book on writing.

Yes, all of us.

If you haven’t, you haven’t experienced writer’s block, and you are a lucky, lucky duck indeed.

An aspiring writer’s process, when reading manuals, goes a little something like this: The first one is GOSPEL and you cite it to everyone you know and it’s ZOMG amazeballs. The second one is great, too, but obviously not as good as the first. The third is okay, the fourth has some interesting points, you keep compiling notes and highlighting exercises you never get around ┬áto doing. Then you come back to the first one, looking for that first amazing hit of inspiration, and you find that it’s not as good as you remember it to be. In fact… compared to the fourth, it’s rather trite.

Do you see where I’m getting at with this?

Literature is, more or less, a subjective field. There’s no exact mathematical formula to make a great book – it all boils down to whether the author can hit on a point of resonance with X amount of readers. So why should writing books be any different?

I will review the books I have read and highlight the things I like and that have worked for me. But remember, y’all – there ain’t no silver bullet in any of this stuff.




…you seem to have more books on writing fiction than actual fiction.

…you seem to have pissed off every publicist and/or writer in your genre with your reviews.

…you say you’re writing a book even though you can’t remember the last time you sat down to.

…you not only rattle off figures about a writer’s dismal finances, but you actually listen to yourself talk.

…you just want to make a paint cover for that short story you wrote in tenth grade that your teacher liked and publish it on Amazon for 99p. just to prove to yourself that you’ve still got it…


Then you know you have a problem.