I’m back with a review for Rachel’s Random Resources, this time for something a little different – the non-fiction, Writing Fiction by James Essinger.
Title: Writing Fiction
Author: James Essinger
Length: 138 Pages
Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide
“Writing Fiction is a little pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd Field for film, Writing Fiction by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.”
– William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter
Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.
It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:
- Anthony Burgess
- Joseph Conrad
- George Eliot
- Ken Follett
- Frederick Forsyth
- Dan Harmon
- Ernest Hemingway
- David Lodge
- Norman Mailer
- John Milton
- Ben Parker
- K. Rowling
- William Shakespeare
- Martin Cruz Smith
- R.R. Tolkien
The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.
Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.
I’m a sucker for books on writing fiction, and when this title popped up on Rachel’s blog tours, I knew I had to try it out. For the most part, Writing Fiction is a great guide on what goes into making a story worth reading, but it’s designed as an outline rather than a practical workbook, so don’t expect writing exercises when you get this.
Still, it’s full of practical advice, examples from relatively current literature and screenplays, and is a great reference for beginners looking to start out in the craft of writing fiction.
James Essinger is clearly well-read and well-written. I felt very much as though I was being addressed by a professor in a university lecture throughout the book, but as we got deeper into the guide, the style relaxed slightly and humour began to appear – some of which made me laugh out loud.
Drolly clever in places, with several brilliant examples and references, I enjoyed the practical advice offered to aspiring authors and the logical manner in which it was laid out. I did feel as though this is a book aimed more at complete newcomers to writing, but that being said – it’s a handy reference for any author’s bookshelf.
Anyone looking to write a book – though it’s aimed at fiction writers, there are good pointers in there for non-fiction too.
James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).
Social Media Links –
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/james.essinger
Twitter – https://twitter.com/jamesessinger