I’ve been thinking again about those “how-to-write” books. Were they any good? Was it worth my time? I probably learned something from each but some were definitely more useful for me than others. Some are directed at writers of genres I have little interest in -- sci-fi/ fantasy and fast action thrillers. I struggled to see how I could use some of that advice but I admit I also discovered a few nuggets that propelled me forward, such as KM Weiland’s ideas on outlining.
Some books seemed unnecessarily rigid in their assumptions about the structure of the novel the aspiring writer should use. Some used jargon that I still don’t understand. Most admitted by the end that whatever works is OK. That’s comforting although it doesn’t provide much direction for a rank beginner. My favorite was Write Away by Elizabeth George because I like her books and it was fun to learn how she goes about writing one. She also avoided dogmatism. I’ll probably never read a Stephen King novel (not my genre) but I appreciated his advice on how he writes. Sick as I am of reading about “show- don’t- tell” and even though, once more, it isn’t my genre, Janice Hardy’s Understanding Show Don’t Tell had some good practical advice.
Yeah, the books were worth my time. But they’re becoming repetitious. Time to write.