Oct 5, 2009

Review: How I Write, Secrets of a Bestselling Author, by Janet Evanovich

Honest, down to earth, gutsy and humorous: some great advice for writers by mystery author Janet Evanovich, in How I Write, published in 2006.

I picked up this book on one of my hunts through discount stores for older but brand new books, and I'm glad I found it. The 2006 book is a series of interviews on creating characters, structure, revising and editing, getting published, and also on "The Writing Life."

Here's one section I liked: on making yourself sit down to write every day - a really difficult thing to do. (from Part 7, "The Writing Life"):

Janet: Look. Nobody finds it easy to sit at a desk all day. It's lonesome, and it's hard, and it's scary. Being a professional is learning to be at your desk even when you don't feel like it. It's facing that blank screen and making yourself put some words where there are none. It's writing something every day, even if it's a single line....

I find it also helps to tell everybody you're a writer. Eventually it gets so embarrassing you actually have to write something."

Fans of her Stephanie Plum mystery series will like reading about how Evanovich creates and develops her characters and her plots, and about her writing techniques and habits. Nice thing about the series of interviews, you can pick the book up at different times and start reading on any page, which is how I'm reading it. A little handbook and motivator for would-be-writers.

There are other books on writing by bestselling authors as well. One of them is Stephen King's On Writing, which has had rave reviews.

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  1. Thanks for visiting my Cottage on the Corner. I'm ecstatic to hook up with other writers and enjoyed your post. It is indeed hard some mornings to commute the few steps from kitchen to computer and write the word soup du jour.

    I look forward to following your blog.

  2. Sounds very interesting. I'll have to pick it up one of these days!

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog today. I'll have to read Evanovich's book! I love writing books because about ten minutes into reading them, I want to get up and write. One of my current faves is Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver.


  4. IMO, Evanovitch is probably the best popular author as far as characters and situations—the woman is a scream.

    She's losing fans on her "number" books, though, because she hasn't resolved the Morelli/Ranger trysts.

  5. Hi, Harvee! I'm a would-be writer myself, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for this book. Thanks for the tip.

  6. This is why I couldn't be a writer..I wouldn't be able to follow the rules! Sounds like a fun book to read!

  7. Sounds like an entertaining, and insightful, read. I haven't seen that other book from Stephen King, but I so adored The Writer's Notebook, published by Tin House earlier this year. It's basically a collection of essays from different writers. As with this book you reviewed, that one's quite witty. Amusing to read :)

  8. I bought this book ages ago. I read every single word, and I kept referring back to it as I worked on my manuscript.

    I loved it and the advice in it is solid!!! It must be - I got a book contract realtively quickly and eaassily once I started looking for a publisher :)

    Cheers, Jill

  9. Hi, everyone! Glad you found her book interesting. Hope you get to follow in Jill's footsteps and publish your book with a little advice from Evanovich! Cool!

  10. I remember when this came out, but then forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me to look for it :) Loved On Writing by King.

  11. Jill: that's so neat, that she helped you all through the writing of your book. Thanks for telling me.

  12. I love to read about how writers write! Thanks for sharing this because I for one never knew she wrote it!

    Thanks for sharing!


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