This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World

This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World
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Release Date
July 09, 2013
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You're an aspiring writer. Maybe you've just discovered your love of words and dream of being a novelist someday. Maybe you've been filling notebooks with science-fiction stories since middle school. Maybe you're contemplating a liberal arts degree, but you don't know what the heck you're going to do with it. The last thing you need is another preachy writing manual telling you how you should write. This book isn't a writing manual. It is a series of candid and irreverent essays on the writing life, from a writer who's lived it. Kerri Majors shares stories from her own life that offer insights on the realities all writers face: developing a writing voice, finding a real job (and yes, you do need to find one), taking criticism, getting published, and dealing with rejection. Don't have enough time to write? Learn how to plan your days to fit it all in. Not sure how your guilty pleasures and bad habits translate into literature? Kerri explains how soap operas and eavesdropping can actually help your writing. Need a reader for your first novel? Find a writing buddy or a writing group that will support you. Nervous about submitting your first piece? Learn from Kerri's own roller coaster journey to find an agent and get published. This Is Not a Writing Manual is the writing memoir for young writers who want to use their talents in the real world.

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1 review
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What I Loved:

Written as a narrative memoir instead of a "how to" manual, this book gives plenty of real world experiences and examples to illustrate each topic. Writers who are new to the field or who are considering whether this is the career they want will find a helpful crash course in the basics of writing for a living. The author discusses aspects of the writing process and how hers evolved, how it looks to live life as a writer (Writing groups, what to do when it's hard, do you need a creative writing major etc.), and how to support yourself and handle the times when supporting yourself becomes nearly impossible.

The author's narrative style is direct and accessible and should resonate with teen writers. She tears away the romantic mystique associated with being a starving writer typing away in a lonely garret and gives practical, real world advice while refraining from saying "this is the only way to successfully be a writer." New writers will have a better understanding of what they face and what mistakes to (try to) avoid after reading this.

What Left Me Wanting More:

At times the anecdotal nature of the narrative made it harder to extract the author's intended message. Teens may want to read with a highlighter in hand to pull out of the narrative the tips that they want to remember.

Final Verdict:

A realistic look at the life of a writer told in accessible, anecdotal prose makes THIS IS NOT A WRITING MANUAL a solid tool in any new writer's belt.
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