‘How to write…’ book reviews

Review One:

adele ramet

Creative Writing; 7th Edition; How to Unlock your imagination, develop your writing skills – and get published.

By Adele Ramet

This book gives an excellent starting point, providing the budding writer with a general overview into the world of creative writing which points you in the direction to find out more.

It discusses all forms of creative writing from fiction to non-fiction and gives wonderfully, clear advice into character creations, settings, etc and has a chapter devoted to showing not telling, and writing realistic dialogue, integral to all writers of creative fiction who wants their work to shine.

She writes advice which is useful for both short stories and full length genre novels with just enough ‘activities’ for the reader to try out at home, in order to test their knowledge and skills using the tips Adele Ramet has just provided. Others books I have read rely too heavily on end of chapter ‘assignments’.

Each end of chapter is clearly finished with a ‘checklist’ of the key pointers that Ramet has spoken about, and she demonstrates her advice using case studies to illustrate her points.

It is an extremely helpful book for those writers starting out on their journey of creative writing, it contains loads of useful hints and tips to get the budding writer, writing and improving their skills.

A real must for any writer to have on their shelves.

Review Two:

how not to write a novel

How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs If You Ever Want To Get Published

By Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark.

This book is filled to the brim with humorous and wonderfully exaggerated anecdotes and examples to get the point across of how not to write across covering all issues that crop up commonly with  new and budding writers from POV problems to rotten dialogue.

The text is written in a dry-witted tone, is short and to the point making it lighter than other books of its kind on the market, but just as informative.

The authors use their experiences in the publishing world to help budding writers avoid the mistakes they see all the time. They explain the ‘writers’ terminology in a delightfully droll way.

It provides the reader/writer with an excellent starting point but as it concentrates on the steps to avoid it would help to read it alongside other ‘manuals’ which aim more to give you a sense of how to write and how to go about creating creative writing, more the ‘do’s’ rather than the ‘don’ts’.

But it does provide a welcome, yet informative, light relief where you can learn and laugh at the same time.

Although, I didn’t personally, appreciate the use of the f-word that they used. But that’s me.

Review Three:


Writing: A User Manual: A practical guide to the craft of planning, starting and finishing a novel

By David Hewson.

This manual comes from the talented thriller writer, David Hewson, which gives a wonderful insight into how he writes and why.

His main point that he highlights time and again throughout is that there is no ‘right’ way to write a novel – just plenty of wrong ways; and that you don’t have to/shouldn’t follow any of the ‘rules’ that others advise. (Although he does highlight things to avoid.)

He gives advise from the very start to the end, from formulating and developing ideas, to choosing software, to editing. He includes a useful chapter, which others I’ve read don’t, on the different writing softwares available and how they can help the budding and established writer, most notably Scrivener. (He includes an excellent chapter on POV.)

A writer of crime/thriller series novels he doesn’t try to pretend that there is only one way to write, and he explains that he can’t direct every writer how to write – he describes simply what works him, encouraging others to follow what works for them – he doesn’t force any ‘way’ on anyone.

This is a well written book, with approachable language and tone which it easy and surprisingly enjoyable to read. The sequence of the chapters follow on from each other well, taking the budding writer on a journey through his/her book and into a possible career.

Although, one must remember that David Hewson a writer of crime/thriller novels and therefore his ‘advise’ is rather crime orientated, fine if that’s what you want to write, but if you are a writer of other genre fiction you’ll have to adapt some of his advise.

A must read. Very helpful, very insightful, wonderfully user-friendly.

11 comments on “‘How to write…’ book reviews

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