Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Jack Woodville London
Publisher: Vire Press
“If successful, you will have filled your readers with imagery and beliefs that evoke their own experiences, fears, and memories, and vests in them the need to know how it comes out. This is the essence of all writing, be it literature, science fiction, journalism, essays, or poetry,” Jack Woodville London encourages in the introduction of his book, A Novel Approach: To Writing Your First Book (or Your Best One).
This eighty-nine page paperback targets novice to seasoned authors or those in need of a refresher course to write more expressively and creatively. Covering mainly writing skills or lack thereof, the book includes several black and white photographs of famous paintings or scenes along with numbered bullet-points and a diagram. Dissected are famous examples by authors such as Austin, Bronte, Chevalier, Crane, Dickens, Dumas, Doctorow, Furst, Stoker, and Vonnegut to name a few.
Written with snippets of quirky humor from an author with thirty years’ experience, London states the book is not a “how-to,” but one of ideas divided into five topics: research, planning, telling, characters’ scenes and dialogues, and editing. Each part contains three to seven chapters suggesting how to turn a story into storytelling.
The initial chapter focuses on being serious about writing projects through rewriting and rechecking sentence and paragraph structure. The second part considers research and accuracy by fact-checking maps, art, and site visits while the third involves the story arc of looping, starting at the beginning, expressing conflicts with solutions, setting the pace, and ending chapters.
Since most readers become engaged by the twentieth page of a book, characters and how they interact in a scene are interpreted in the fourth section. Describing scenes by making an impression and having captivating spoken and non-verbal dialogues are necessary combinations to great writing.
The final chapters observe editing from the writer’s perspective, reviewers’ responses, and the readers’ opinions with a call to start writing now. In addition to promoting working with a professional editor, also inserted are four stages to writing an excellent book review.
By knowing the story and its audience intimately, authors are urged to work backwards using an outline, write in active, not passive verb tense, and portray the omniscient voice over first person format. Offering exercises throughout the pages, the author recommends writing one thousand words a day and using three by five note cards for organizing plots and thoughts.
Beneficial for any skill-level of writer, this compilation of techniques should be within hands reach the next time a paper, article, or book needs to be well-written so it will stand out in the reader’s memory.
Thanks to the author and Bookpleasures for furnishing this complimentary advance reading copy in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.
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