First, let me just start this blog post by saying today is a huge day for me. Six years ago on this very day, I released my first novel, Creatures of the Damned. While I do not remain as wildly in love with this novel as I had been then, I still see it as a massive accomplishment and growing spot. It was the first novel I ever finished writing. The one I edited, got a cover for and released. It was a day I celebrated and enjoyed so much. I mean, who would have thought that six years later I would still be writing?
I may not be at the point in my journey that I thought I would by now, but I am making progress. I’ll admit that this year I’m more focused to make the progress I need to, so that helps. So today I shall celebrate how far that I’ve come. My journey as a writer and how much I’ve improved my skills with hard work and determination.
As for the book review:
I read Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner. I would give it a four-star rating.
Most of you may know that he is the executive director of NaNoWriMo. During the beginning of this book, it really encapsulated all the good things that come with that ‘magical’ month of November. I couldn’t put it down for the first part of the novel.
When I got to chapter twenty, though. I hit a bad part. The title of the chapter is Put Your Life Struggles In Perspective. While I could see the value in such a thing, there was a terribly researched part that yanked me right out of the whole section. He has a part where he shows you an author’s life struggles and you have to try to guess what author it is. It was the first one on that list that pulled me right out.
“As a single mother, she wrote in cafes so she could escape her cold apartment. Poor, practically homeless, she was diagnosed with clinical depression and considered taking her own life. Her best-selling novel received 12 rejections before it was published, and her editor advised her to get a day job because she had little chance of making a living as a writer.”
While most people wouldn’t pick up on any differences in this and wouldn’t think anything differently, it bothered me. J.K. Rowling is an author that I take great inspiration from. I’ve studied her writing habits and have watched many documentaries about her life and how Harry Potter came to be. It was during one of these that I discovered why this statement is wrong. During an interview and documentary that she did with BBC in 2001 called Harry Potter and Me, she stated that people saying she wrote in cafes to escape her unheated/cold apartment is absolutely false. ‘She wasn’t stupid enough to rent an unheated flat in Edinborough.’
The truth is, she used to have to walk her daughter Jessica around to get her to fall asleep, so she’d strap her in and go for a walk. As soon as she fell asleep, she’d go to the nearest cafe to work.
You can see the video here.
Needless to say, that chapter made me skip the whole thing. If he couldn’t do proper research on such a thing, I doubted anything else in that part would have done me any good. For a moment, I debated on not continuing to read the book at all, but I’d found so many nuggets of goodness in other chapters. So, that being said, I skipped to the next chapter and continued on.
I’ll admit there are chapters that hold nothing to help me, which is true to most writing books. There will always be parts that may help you and others that won’t. That is the way it all goes. Occasionally, you will find a novel that does nothing for you. That does happen as well.
So far I’ve found more that are fascinating and helpful than not helpful. That is why the star rating remains at a four as I finish off the novel. I would still recommend this book to other writers. Take what works for you, ignore what doesn’t. Bolster yourself with the more uplifting ones.
That is my review of that novel and my excited celebration.
Until next time, remember to L.O.L. (Live it, Own it, Love it) or it isn’t worth doing.