Blog Archives

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction (Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This book is full of well written prose that gives opinions and examples on a variety of things that go into “good writing:” everything from characterization and choice of first vs. third person narration to the placement of essayists in the literary hierarchy. The story also details the almost lifetime of friendship between Kidder and Todd in a very interesting, introspective way. I didn’t always agree with the “advice,” and found some of the example they chose to be somewhat contradictory to the points they were making, but still, it was well written, interesting, and kind of like a collapsed recommended-reading list (in that they were often quoting from other books, some of which I had never heard of, but now want to look up).

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2013 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition (Carol Tice, Jane Friedman, C. Hope Clark)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
The detailed and updated list of literary agents, book publishers, and consumer magazines is probably the most worthwhile part of this book (and they obviously know this, as these “indices” account for about ⅔ of 900+ pages). There are nice snippets of information throughout (for example: writing a query letter, how to handle social media/marketing), but as usual with this series, none of the introductory chapters provide any really meaty information and the indices, while very helpful, are nowhere near complete. As an aspiring writer, I feel that it’s still nice to have say, 80% of the information I need gathered in one easy place, but you could definitely recreate any individual chapter by just Googling the topic for a few hours.
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2013 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market (Chuck Sambuchino)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
If you’re writing (or better yet, have already finished writing) a young adult novel and need a step-by-step guide on how to write a query letter and who to send it to, this is for you. Otherwise, though there are helpful lists and indices detailing agents, most of the information covered in the earlier chapters is readily available online via a variety of blogs on how to publish. For example, chapters covering things like writing a query letter only include a few examples, and most of the examples throughout the book seemed to be geared towards the young adult end of the children’s market (despite the title). Further, many of the examples feature up-and-coming as opposed to new authors (e.g. one agent shared a query letter from a woman who had already published several books and had won awards), though the book is clearly marketed towards aspiring and starting writers. I think it was useful for the indices and some of pet peeves agents share, and it was clearly written, but, again, the examples were few and far between; it also doesn’t cover self- and/or online publishing, which may be a wasted opportunity.
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