An Interesting 'How To' Book for Writers

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, March 11, 2012 Under: Book Review

102 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes, Bob Mayer, 2012, Writer’s Digest Books (Kindle: $4.99)

I came across this book a couple of months ago when it was being offered as a free e-book to subscribers of Writer’s Digest. At that time it had the title 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes, but the free version only contained 33. Having read those 33 I went looking for a complete copy, as I’m sure was the intention. The current book is an updated version of the earlier work with the extra 32 solutions scattered through the same eight categories as he used in the earlier edition.

Those categories are:

The Idea
The Story/Plot
The Writing
Editing and Rewriting
Selling Your Work
The Publishing Business

This is an interesting book, and a fairly quick read. He sets out what he sees to be a list of common writing mistakes and has a short comment about why a particular attitude, behavior or practice is a mistake. He then poses, if not quite solutions, at least ideas that should lead a reasonably intelligent person to a solution that works for them. 

A lot of his advice comes down to three main points. 

Writers write.

Learn the craft, the whole craft, not just the bits you think might apply to the genre you want to write in.

Treat with respect the people you work and interact with.

There’s a lot more to it than just that, of course, some of it quite specific, all of it useful for new, and not so new writers. 

I bought the Kindle version, as the least expensive and the most readily available version. It also appears to be the only one available. There were a few problems with it, like the fact that, though there is a hyperlinked ‘contents’ sidebar, it doesn’t include any of the category names. There were some spelling and formatting problems that should have been picked up by the proofreader, like the fact that in the latter part of the book he refers readers to other ‘mistakes’ for their solutions, but in the text all we see is (#??). Obviously someone failed to go through and actually put in all the links and cross-references. 

With that caveat, I can highly recommend this book as a highly readable, entertaining, and informative ‘How To’ for writers.

In : Book Review 

Tags: "common writing mistakes" "bob mayer" "how to write" 
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Meet the scribbler

I'm a writer, editor, indie publisher, and dedicated Magic Spreadsheet user. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, I've been living in Japan since 1995. I've had a life-long interest in writing and in speculative fiction. My first book was published in mid-2014.
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