Monday, December 20th, 2010

A (Brief) Review of “How I Write” by Janet Evanovich

Cover: How I Write by Janet EvanovichI read a lot of “How to Write” books. I love to. I find it fascinating, as I think many other writers do, to witness the writing process of another writer.

Some books are good. Others are duds.

This one, for me, is a dud, mainly because the information is very basic.

The book is divided into sections (Creating Great Characters, Nuts and Bolts, Structure, Revising and Editing, Getting Published, and more) each with an introduction by Ina Yalog.

These introductions are, in my opinion, the best part of the book. They contain most of the valuable nuggets of information.

The rest of each section is set up in Q&A format. From the length of many questions, I assume that these are real questions that Evanovich has fielded from aspiring writers, taken verbatim from email or letter. In fact, a few of the same questions are still on the FAQ of her Web site.

Evanovich’s answers are short and to the point. Quite clearly she stays on topic of “How I   Write.” It’s not often Evanovich does more than answer the literal question as asked.

It wouldn’t have taken much, I think, to put in a bit more effort — to answer questions more completely — and create a more comprehensive, more useful, book.

Some points are illustrated by snippets of prose from Evanovich’s many Stephanie Plum series books. Although useful, these sometimes felt like an advertisement for the books. Coupled with the brevity of Evanovich’s response to many of the questions, the entire package feels like she is simply cashing in on the questions of her readers.

Sadly, much of the information provided can be found elsewhere on the internet, albeit without her dry wit and a bit of background about the Stephanie Plum series characters.

All that being said, new or inexperienced writers may find much of the information useful. For them, Evanovich’s book could be a good starting point.

My rating:
Chewed Pencil
One Chewed Pencil

4 comments to A (Brief) Review of “How I Write” by Janet Evanovich

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