“A superb tutorial for anyone wanting to learn from pros how to polish fiction writing with panache.” –Library Journal *
What I thought:
As I may have mentioned once or twice, I tend to prefer my theory books humorous. While this one wasn’t that, it didn’t suffer from a lack of jokes. The tone was conversational rather than serious do-this-do-that instructions, which made it quite enjoyable for me. And I took so many notes! I’m surprised my notebook app didn’t crash.
When you use two words, a weak verb and an adverb, to do the work of one strong verb, you dilute your writing and rob it of its potential power.
There are end-of-chapter exercises and answers at the end, but one of my favourite parts is that Browne and King acknowledge their answers aren’t correct because fiction isn’t about right or wrong but rather effective and ineffective, and because of that everyone is going to get different results, some better than their own. More often than not, theory books make it sound like their way is the only way, and I loved that this one said the exact opposite.
The surest sign that you are achieving literary sophistication is when your writing begins to seem effortless.
If you’re a writer at any stage of your career you’ll find this book useful. I highly recommend you read it and buy your own copy, too, because you will want to come back to it often!
* Is anyone else annoyed by the blurbs on theory books? They’re either longer than the actual review or so short you can’t really call them blurbs -.-
Have you read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!
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