Janet Burroway’s “Writing Fiction”

A Gift to Writers Throughout Their Careers

Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction has been on my bookshelf for (estimating) 20+ years. I picked up a used copy back when I made my first pass at fiction writing not realizing I’d plucked a diamond from a trash pile. My writing coach, Rich Marcello, suggested I give it a read.

The title sounded familiar when Rich suggested it. I’d added the book to my collection and hadn’t touched it since I put it on my shelf. This is one of those “When the student is ready, the teacher will be there” things. I wouldn’t have appreciated Writing Fiction 20+ years ago. Rich suggested Writing Fiction about a year ago and I’ve just completed my first read.

I’m a fairly fast reader.

I will be doing second, third and probably through fifth readings (if I live long enough).

There’s that much to learn (for me) in this book.


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Walter Mosley’s “This Year You Write Your Novel”

Walter Mosley’s “This Year You Write Your Novel” is an excellent read for authors at any stage in their career

I picked up This Year You Write Your Novel because I was reading Mosley’s The Man in My Basement and Devil in a Blue Dress and wanted to understand Mosley’s choices in the book. There were some authorial moves I understood, some completely threw me.

This Year You Write Your Novel is a short, powerful book. I read lots of books on writing methods, techniques, scene, character, language, et cetera and I was truly impressed at how much Mosley packed into 103 pages. It’s all there. Now here’s the funny part; I wouldn’t recommend the book to someone who’s been writing for a while, say a year or two, and doing it as a past time or leisure time activity. My sense is it would prove too confusing or even misinformational. It’s a great book (full of gems) for people who are about to write and those who already have a career going for them. The former will find a useful guide into a world they don’t know much, if anything, about. The latter will find lots of triggers for things they know but not consciously, for techniques they use but can’t name and will find themselves going “Oh, that’s right, that’s right” more often than not (I did, anyway).


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