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THANKS, BUT THIS ISN’T FOR US – “More how-to advice for writers.”

May 21, 2010

Sorry, Jessica, not for us!

by Jessica Page Morrell

Tarcher/Penguin, 2009

358 pages, $11.53

     Subtitled “A (Sort of ) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing Is Being Rejected,” I do think the tone is sympathetic. The how-to advice is directed where it should be—not how to trick publishers and agents into liking what you do—but making what you do appealing to readers (including publishers and agents). I love the emphasis on scenes, and the book’s… short paragraphs and short chapters are easy to digest.  

     Writers don’t like authority figures and this presentation is very much, “I’m the teacher, you’re the freshman.” There could be more examples. I prefer books where the author shares his or her journey of discovery (like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird), but the references at the end of each chapter are useful and the advice is pithy but useful (if someone takes it). 

     My favorite chapter is “Driving an Editor Crazy: Goofs, Gaffes and Howlers that Sink a Manuscript.” The author’s expertise, for good or bad, is not as an editor or author, but as a manuscript doctor, and here she shows why she is probably very good at it. But is that enough for the serious writer/reader? My favorite quote: “The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind it the writer.” – Steve Martin. 

Buy It:                           Skip It:                          Library: X     

Order from amazon, $11.53. Click here: Thanks, But This Isn’t for Us: A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected

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