I’m not planning on writing a book any time soon but Rachel Aaron’s tag line sold me. I want to write faster, better, and more of what I love.
The first thing that immediately made me like this book was the author’s respect of the reader. She admits to writing this book because so many people asked her the same questions over and over about how she improved her writing speed. She wrote this book out of love for her readers and genuinely wanting to share her system for the benefit of others.
The tone she uses in the book is conversational. Really the book reads like a long blog post (which makes sense because this book started as several blog posts). I’ve read other books that teach writers a system for their writing but those come off as preachy and condescending. Aaron writes as if we were talking over coffee.
This is a good start-up guide for a new writer. It is practical and walks the reader through the whole book writing process from idea flash to editing and read throughs. I appreciated her system of recording what time she writes, how much, and where she is so she gets a better picture of when is the optimal writing time and place.
Aaron’s section on editing did not convince me to love editing but I was interested in her method. When I edit I just start from the beginning and work my way line by line until the end. The system she gives seems much more efficient. It may be non-linear but I like the idea of writing a to-do list of all the edits needed and attacking them from hardest to easiest. I do love to-do lists. I think this one idea could make editing bearable, being able to attack one task at a time instead of just dauntingly facing the whole piece.
I do have to say that this book has a lot of typos. Lots. And the irony of a how-to-write and how-to-edit book having typos is not lost on me. But really this book is like a PSA and is so useful that I don’t mind too much.
Her purpose in writing this book is clear. She is not teaching us but walking alongside us. She has been there in those frustrating and “stupid head-against-brick-wall” problems and she is trying to motivate us and give us the key to get through it.
So if you’re tinkering with the idea of writing a book but don’t know how to start, this is a good and quick read.