Book Review – Creative Writing: The Essential Guide by Tim Atkinson

Published by Need2Know

Thinking of starting a career in creative writing? Then this book might be for you. It is easy reading and at just over 100 pages, not too long.

As an introduction to the world of creative writing, this book works well. The author writes with a light touch and self-deprecating humour, and his style is easy to read. He also has a taste for unusual similes which become more obvious after his discussion on stereotypes and clichés in Chapter Two which discusses the writer’s voice. It made me think more about the clichés I use without thinking because they have become such a part of our language.

There are chapters covering getting the writing habit, reading as a writer, fact and fiction and editing as well as a basic introduction to different kinds of creative writing such as short stories, poetry, playwriting and novel writing including genre fiction. There are other books covering these kinds of subjects in greater detail, but this book gives the reader an overview of creative writing and the kinds of avenues that they might like to explore further.

I like some of the quotes in the sidebars – they are always relevant and often funny in a true kind of way. The author takes some examples from his own work (well, at least he owns the copyright) and is not afraid to show the nuts and bolts of writing in that the examples can be less than perfect. I also like his advice about not deciding too soon which genre you would like to write in – as you develop you may find more than one genre suits you whereas if you limit yourself too soon to one particular genre then you may miss out on some of your best work.

There is a great list of resources at the back for aspiring writers to try, and they include both web resources and books so you don’t have to be online to find some of them. At the back of the book more published books by Need2Know will offer more in depth reading on some of the subjects.

As an introductory book for a novice writer I would highly recommend this book: the writer mentions the well-used saying that ‘everyone has a book in them’ and I know several people who would like to write who might enjoy reading this book as a way of inspiring them to begin.

Even for writers who have been writing for a while but are beginning to feel that they might like to try different kinds of writing, it might also be worth a read as it does offer a good overview of the world of creative writing.

Favourite Quote:

‘Basically, if you’re writing a novel (as opposed to, say, a short story) you’ve got to take the reader on a bit of a holiday: short stories are away-days; novels are the full vacation and War and Peace is the year-long round-the-world cruise.’

(Creative Writing: The Essential Guide: Chapter Six: The Novel)

This book review is entirely my honest opinion of the book. I have no affiliate links with Need2Know or Tim Atkinson.

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