You’ve got a book in you, by Elizabeth Sims (2013, Writer’s Digest Books) is a very good basic book for someone who woke up one day and said, “I want to write a book, but I don’t know how.” It has a lot of useful information and encouragement for a first-time writer. I’m talking really basic stuff like “What’s a serif?” and how to set up your office (even file names for your book).
Sims engages in a dialog with a reader, taking the reader’s questions:
Why would anyone want to do it any other way? (planning a book)
What does vernacular mean?
YGABIY is basically a short course in writing 101. Sims includes fiction and non-fiction and gives ACTIONS at the end of each chapter. I never follow these kinds of end-of-chapter tasks, but I know many people do.
Sims uses lots of examples from famous books and she shows how to learn from authors without copying them. Good point and hard to do.
The book is indexed so you can find specific subject easily. That’s a big help when you are in the midst of writing and you aren’t sure how to write dialog.
Best advice: In the chapter on organization, Sims says, “Don’t take on the monkey.” The monkey is OPP – other people’s problems or things that others feel are important or that you must do. Don’t let their problems become yours, Sims warns. You’ll never get the book done if you take on the monkey. AMEN!
Sims has obviously been here and done it all and she shares her advice in an easy, relaxed, informative book. When I picked this book up at the library, the checkout person said, “That’s a book I want to read!” If you want to learn how to write, from a base of zero knowledge of the writing process, this book can be a big help.
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