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Genre: Non-fiction; writing guides

Stars: 4

Links: Amazon UK and Amazon US


The Blurb:

‘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
  • J.K. Rowling
  • William Shakespeare
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • J.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.


My Review:

While there are plenty of books about writing fiction, there was something about this book that appealed. The chapters are (mostly) very short and sweet, allowing you to dive in and out of sections should you wish to.

The advice is clear and easy-to-follow, and the text is peppered with examples from books and films, facilitating the reader’s understanding of the concepts discussed. Yes, there was a tendency to use slightly older films and books to demonstrate points, but the examples used weren’t always classics, making the analysis more intriguing.

Overall, this was a very quick and easy read, with a fluid and entertaining writing style that kept me reading. It was definitely a user-friendly guide, but I do think that it is selling itself short as a fiction writing book as both readers and other types of writers could also benefit from some of its well-made points. Recommended.

About the author:

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 – https://www.facebook.com/james.essinger