Authors: Janet Law Walters & Jane Toombs
Checking out the Internet as well as various other sources I notice there is a great deal of excellent advice on writing techniques. Unfortunately, many aspiring writers as well as experienced ones either neglect the advice or are unaware of its existence.
There are also local critique groups and countless workshops, seminars, and other avenues where writers can learn how to improve their writing skills, however often it is not convenient for one reason or another to participate in these tutorials.
Authors Jane Toombs and Janet Lane Walters have combined their 63 years of writing experience and knowledge to come up with a practical solution to help us become our own critique partner with their 236 page manual, Becoming Your Own Critique Partner, particularly when participation in a critique group is either impossible or impractical.
The primary focus of the book is, as the authors mention in their introduction, “to find the flaws in your manuscript and correct them.” The most obvious flaws that are examined and explored are telling too much and not showing, weak and flat dialogue, the black moment when the focus character (villain or hero) in the story believes all is lost, scenes and their relevance, where to use adjectives and adverbs, finding ways to use the appropriate senses, pacing, effectively using points of view, plugging holes in your plot, cutting the fat from the bone, avoiding clichés, what not to do with the details, places where mood in the story affects your characters, finding your theme and using it to solidify your plot, spotting awkward time and place shifts, characters and their motivation, ways to keep the heart in your writing, questions writers should ask themselves about minor but pertinent errors, and the proper use of words that are not annoying.
The chapters of the book are knitted together into a cohesive whole in the form of a workshop-style. Each concludes with a checklist and useful exercises that help the reader reinforce the principles that are expounded upon. There are numerous examples taken from the authors’ own published works illustrating the wrong and right ways of writing as well as the various stumbling points to keep you from being led astray.
Although Becoming Your Own Critique Partner is not meant to be the last word on the technique of good writing, it is nevertheless an excellent and indispensable tool for writers seeking to improve their skills. No doubt this book will prove to be a valuable addition to any writer’s personal collection.
The above review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Retired Title Attorney: Editor & Publisher of Bookpleasures. Here are Norm Goldman's Reviews