Monday, September 15, 2008

The New Writer's Handbook, Volume 2: Books for Writers: Scarletta Press

I have an article in this. Just got my free copy today. (Amazon/Willesden Herald partner link)

The intro by Ted Koooser is interesting. He was US Poet Laureate for a while. He talks about writing "from life" and the comparative poverty of writing from imagination. In one example he says that when describing the scene at a birthday party, it's the lace that's coming away from the edge of a table cloth, or the bent tine on a fork that will evoke it, and not the candles flickering on top of the birthday cake. In other words, he claims that imagination will tend to the cliched. He makes a strong case, but I'm not sure he didn't imagine that lace himself just then, if you see what I mean. It's worth getting hold of the book just to read his intro, really, but there are loads of other interesting articles as well.


  1. I've just put up my own blog post in praise of the first incarnation of your article, and am now rather interested in the book that it's included in. Your article is something that every short story writer should read, and pay attention to: perhaps, then, the quality would improve and the overall numbers would reduce, so editors would be able to get through their submissions a little more quickly, and give writers a little more encouragement and help.

    I hope the book does well. If the rest of it is as good as your piece, it deserves to.

  2. Thanks. Your project to review self-published books looks interesting. (Followed your profile links.)

  3. You're welcome. I've contacted Scarletta to ask for a review copy, and if they can send one I'll discuss it on my "how publishing really works" blog.

    The "self-publishing review" blog came about because I've read so many glowing reviews about self-published books which turned out to be pretty dire. I know that there must be some good self-published books out there: but they get hidden in amongst all the nonsense. I hope to show just what it is that makes a book good and what makes an otherwise good book fail--just as you do in your post about short stories.

    (How neat was that? I have written a lovely circular argument. I shall now go and have a chocolate to celebrate.)