Thursday 14 December 2017

Book review: Ours: poetry collection including Maureen Duffy

OursOurs by Maureen Duffy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Maureen Duffy's poetry - it's down to earth, solid, and is about real people and real things. There is only one of her poems in Ours because this is mainly a book of the winners and shortlisted entries to a competition that she judged. The fact that she was the judge ensures the quality of the end product, and there are a handful of other poets who were invited to contribute to the final collection. The book contains two other names that I know, Robert Jaggs-Fowler and Sue Knight - neither of whom are a well known as poets as they should be but maybe that will change with time.

View all my reviews

Thursday 7 December 2017

Writing successful commercial fiction

This book, How to be a Fantastic Writer, is the expanded 2nd edition of The Writers' Toolkit. It is the recommended text (by the editors at Fantastic Books) for writers of commercial fiction.

Targeted specifically at authors of commercial fiction, this book lifts the lid and shows you the component pieces of compelling prose and how they fit together. It debunks popular myths – you’ve heard the adage ‘show, don’t tell’; did you know that ‘tell, don’t show’ has an equally vital role to play in vibrant fiction? The trick is knowing which to use and when. This book will tell you. It strips away the mystery and shows the practical steps involved in when and how to build dramatic effect; how to make your characters come alive on the page; how to employ powerful 21st century techniques (don’t let the film-makers have all the best tools).

How to be a Fantastic Writer leads you step by step from beginning to end. If you’re just starting out and want a solid framework to give you confidence, or if you are a seasoned novelist who wants practical advice on how to inject tension into a scene that inexplicably seems to drag, then this is the book for you.

“Specifically addresses the vast majority of the problems we encounter when assessing authors’ manuscripts. The whole team was delighted when the authors agreed to write an expanded second edition.” Mae, senior editor, Fantastic Books Publishing

                From Amazon reviews of the first edition

“You can literally see what needs to happen, where the sticking points are and how to resolve them. For me it was like a light turning on in my head.”

“Gets straight to the heart of what makes fiction commercial but also eminently readable.”
“It has given me considerable inspiration.”

 “It has clarified what my next steps are and how much work I still have to do. For that alone, it is worth the money.”

“The instructions for preparing a two-sentence pitch were alone worth the cost of the book.”