“The most important thing to realize is that everyone is capable of telling a story.” –Maeve Binchy
If you scribble story ideas on the backs of receipts…
If you file away bits of overheard conversation from the coffee shop…
If you’ve already chosen the perfect pen name…
Well, then the journey has begun!
In this warm and inspiring guide, beloved author Maeve Binchy shares her unique insight to how a best selling author writes: from finding a subject and creating good writing habits to sustaining progress and seeking a publisher.
Whether you want to write stories or plays, humor or mysteries, Binchy prescribes advice for every step with her signature humor and generous spirit. She has called upon other writers, editors, and publishers to add their voices to this treasury of assistance for budding writers and a refreshing dose of encouragement for longtime scribes. And once you are ready, an appendix offers of writing awards and competitions and a selection of websites and literary journals.
I picked up this book as part of my quest to focus on my writing this year and get that novel completed and off to the RNA for critique. Maeve Binchy is one of my favourite authors, she really knows how to write honestly about genuine people and ordinary lives in an interesting way that pinpoints the fears, desires, and emotions that drive our behaviour. If I could write 20% as well as she did, I would be completely satisfied.
This book is a collection of letters written by Maeve to the reader, each on a different aspect of the writing process, together with some pieces of advice from other contributing writers such as Marian Keyes. The book came about based on a writing course that Maeve delivered in person to aspiring writers in Dublin.
I have mixed feelings about this book. In some ways, it is really interesting to hear Maeve’s take on the writing process and she speaks with the same warmth and friendliness that you see in her novels. She is encouraging and evidently believes that if she can have the success she has had, anyone can do it. There are some really useful nuggets of advice in the book about writing, and about the nuts and bolts of the publishing process in general.
On the negative side, the book is very short and, therefore, sparse in detail. It also tries to cover a lot of topics within its covers, including writing plays, comedy, for the radio, for children and I think it tries to cram too much diverse information into too few pages, so there is little detail on any topic.
Overall, it is a interesting little introduction to writing, particularly for fans of Maeve Binchy and her writing style and voice and who miss her now she is gone. It is not an in-depth guide to writing and anyone who wants a detailed creative writing book should look elsewhere.
You can buy a copy of the book here.
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