52 books in 52 weeks: Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance

I’ve been a bit busy in recent weeks, mostly catching up on my self-imposed publishing schedule, so I’m a little behind in this. However, I didn’t forget, so … I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 13. Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance is a short read of just over an hour – if you read it straight through. There are no exercises, as such, but the book […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Bird by Bird

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 12. What can I say about Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott? I’ve seen this book raved over by writers far and wide, and by some with whom I’ve been friends for a long time and whose opinions I trust. And so I waited and waited for the book to be released on Kindle … and it never was. In the end I asked for […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Just Write That Book Already

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 11. Just Write That Book Already: learn how to avoid distractions, create a writing schedule, and organize your ideas so you can get started on your book today by Joy Farrington, doesn’t, I feel, quite live up to the promise of that zippy, snappy subtitle. It’s a short read, taking me just under two hours, and there are a couple of nuggets in […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writing for Magazines – the essential guide

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 10. Writing for Magazines – the essential guide by Diana Cambridge is, I feel, punching above its weight calling itself an essential guide. Granted, there’s some useful information, but – in my opinion – there are better guides out there, including two of the author’s own: How to Write for Magazines – in one weekend and How to Write Travel Articles – in one weekend. This […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writing Fight Scenes – Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 9. Writing Fight Scenes: Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors by Rayne Hall is the first in a series on writers’ craft* from the same author. It can also be found in the book bundle power pack 1. First, one of my pet niggles: writers’ guides that claim to be on the craft of writing, yet are riddled with basic typos and editing mistakes. This is one of […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writing Your First Novel – a 60-minute masterclass

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 8. Writing Your First Novel – a 60-minute masterclass by Shelley Weiner bills itself as the first book in the series, but I’m sure I’ve read and reviewed earlier ones, including one I thought was, in fact, the first in the series. But perhaps that was just my own incorrect assumption. The book took me around 55 minutes to read from start to finish and, […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: A Writer’s Guide to Senior Investigating Police Officers in the UK

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 7. A Writer’s Guide to Senior Investigating Police Officers in the UK by Kevin N Robinson took me just under an hour to read from start to finish. This really isn’t the best way to read it as it’s designed to be “dipped into” as and when required. So it’s a quick read, and it’s a good reference guide to keep handy. The book basically guides the […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writing Crime Fiction – a 60 minute masterclass

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 6. Writing Historical Fiction – a 60 minute masterclass by Katharine McMahon took me just over an hour to read from start to finish. I read it on the PaperWhite, and that struggled at first to calculate the total time the book would take to read, starting at 6 minutes, then 12 minutes, then finally an hour and 12 minutes. But it probably took me just […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writing the Cozy Mystery

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 5. Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy J Cohen is another short read, although this one took less than 30 minutes. But I thought that was great as I was able to read it through in one sitting, something I’ll do again, but this time trying out what the author suggests. There is only one actual exercise in the book, but the rest […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: How to Write Fiction – a Guardian masterclass

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 4. How to Write Fiction – a Guardian masterclass is similar to the 60-minute masterclass books in that it takes around 60 minutes to read it from cover to cover. There, however, is where any similarities end. The book comprises a number of contributions from different “experts”, interspersed with writing exercises lifted from The Writing Book: a practical guide by Kate Grenville. And if […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writing Short Stories – a 60 minute masterclass

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 3. Writing Short Stories – a 60 minute masterclass by Shelley Weiner took me just under 60 minutes to read. But I was lucky to get through it as the literary comparisons and the lack of practical exercises that build on each other almost stopped me in my tracks. I’m glad I got over myself, and my own personal prejudices, though, as once […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writing Crime Fiction – a 60 minute masterclass

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 2. Writing Crime Fiction – a 60 minute masterclass by William Ryan & M R Hall took me more than 60 minutes to read. But as I read this one in instalments, I can’t provide an accurate figure. This book is a no-nonsense, straightforward book that collates everything you need to know about writing crime fiction without all the guff in between. It’s clear […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Feature Writing – a 60 minute masterclass

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year … and then right in week one was struck down by lurgy. So the first in the series is a little late, but it’s a short enough book. Feature Writing – a 60 minute masterclass by Rob Orchard does exactly what it says on the cover. It took me just about 60 minutes to read it in one sitting. and the exercises – all five of […]

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New beginnings (*** list alert ***)

The news that yet another short story magazine has closed its doors to all but a privileged few has knocked me sideways somewhat this past week. It’s not a market I’ve had a lot of success with, but it’s a good market to target anyway and at least the result is a completed short story at the end of it. I had such plans, though. I’d bought a new diary that starts in January and finishes in December instead of […]

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