The faint of heart need not venture any further into this post. What looks like an innocent review of books about writing advice, well, is that at least on one front, but we’ll also be looking at the “so profane it’s good” book, Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey by Chuck Wendig, and I’ll be pulling quotes. Hold onto your pants.
That was a test. If you’re wearing pants, you’re probably not a writer…
Sorry, you’re confused? It was a part of the book. If you’ve already read it… Well, let’s just get to the pairing.
Wendig’s book is a collection of essays on writing gathered from his blog terribleminds. He talks directly to those who plan on working exclusively–freelance–on their writing to make a living and he does so in a way that is completely direct and funny, but also startling right on. Take this quote. Yes, you should have learned in Creative Writing 101, but I doubt the teacher said it in such a way that actually made this much sense:
“Said it before, and I’ll say it again: your story adds up to characters do shit and characters say shit. At its core, that’s every tale — somebody does something, and that somebody probably talks about it, and hopefully it’s not totally fucking boring. Right? Right.”
Other essays cover everything from conflict, themes, rewriting, habits of ineffective writers, writing platforms, and what to eat for breakfast. It’s a pretty wide scope but one that he handles well in his back and forth relay of ideas. I mean, two essays, “No, Seriously, I’m Not Fucking Around: You Don’t Want to be a Writer” and “No, You Totally Want to be a Writer, and Here’s Why” sit right next to each other in the book.
While the book handles a lot of the practical advice you’ll need to be a writer, there are a few areas that are only touched on briefly, if not at all. That’s where the 2013 Writer’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer, comes into play. It’s also a collection of essays, as well as a back directory of markets, publishers, and magazines.
It’s a quick read, as much of the book is taken up by that back directory, but the essays cover everything from taxes to small business ownership to standard pay rates to social media. They’re starting off points, for sure–every topic could be given its own book–but they provide loads of relevant information and further resources to learn more. Certainly keep a pen and paper handy as you read through it and expect an insane list of things to do after reading.
What are your favorite books about writing?