International Writers Magazine: How to Write:
a Writer? By Jane Wenham-Jones
how-to-books I have read have been disappointing, hardly teaching
me anything new about the particular subject. Sure, when you read
a lot of books about the same topic, some of the information and
advice will keep repeating itself. But even though some of Jane
Wenham-Jones advice is common knowledge, she does provide
many new tips and tricks of the trade as well, most of which I instantly
felt inspired to make use of myself.
What also makes
this book stand out from the crowd is the authors very original,
light-hearted and self-ironic voice. Filled with humor and an unsparingly
honest look on the business of writing, Wannabe a Writer? is
entertaining as well as enlightening, and may well supply even the most
depressed writer (or wannabe writer) with new hope and inspiration.
Written in a straightforward and engaging style, it makes for a fast
and fun read.
Apart from outlining different authors varied approaches to writing,
Wannabe a Writer? is a very personal account of Wenham-Jones
own experiences as a writer which may well be described as a memoir
of writing. The author injects her book not only with honesty and humor,
but also passion and enthusiasm, thus offering the wannabe writer the
sympathy and understanding he/she lacks and needs, as well as boosting
his/her confidence and motivation.
While it is a well-researched guide to writing, Wannabe a Writer?
loses some of its authority in those sections in which the author admits
that she herself has not tried a certain outlined strategy recommended
to her by other successful writers. This, however, is only a minor criticism,
as is the fact that her jokes about excessive alcohol consumption and
hangovers which will probably be understood only by someone who
either lives or has spent some time in the UK become slightly
excessive as well.
All in all, this guide offers solutions to many common problems experienced
by beginner writers, and will particularly be of interest and
help to any struggling first-time novelist. I can only recommend
© Lisa Timmermann July 2008
Lisa is studying for her MA in Creative Writng and writing a screenplay
at the University of Portsmouth
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