Did you have a nice summer? Ours was full of Camp NaNo, friendship bread, tea parties and writing prompts. Nevertheless, the third Sunday is here again. You know what that means – we have a special review of “The Writer’s Little Helper,” by James V. Smith Jr. from a year-round NaNo-er, Michelle Brumley. Read on…
“I honestly believe at this point I should own stock in Writer’s Digest books. My book shelf is covered in writing reference books. Few books have been as helpful or as well organized as “The Writer’s Little Helper,” by James V. Smith Jr.
As the name implies, it is an easy to approach and easy to read, cover-to-cover reference book.
“The Writer’s Little Helper” can be used many different ways. I recommend reading it all the way through first, and then referencing each section as necessary. My book copy is from 2006 and I know the cover has changed, but the interior should still be the same. James’ breaks down the entire book in to color coded sections that address: beginning and ends, characters, creativity, dialogue, editing, fiction techniques, getting published, pacing, plot, point of view, writing mechanics and writing scenes. He offers tips and checklists for each section as you go along.
Unlike many other writing reference books, “The Writer’s Little Helper,” never becomes tedious. You can easily read through a section, spanning just a few pages, at your own pace. The book easily adapts to any stage in your writing process. If you’re struggling with the beginning of your book, you can turn and reach each of his sections to more information. If you just want to use the book as a quick reference guide for fast editing suggestions, simply read through the editing sections. It’s laid out very clearly to be read as individual sections or as a whole.
“The Writer’s Little Helper” touches briefly on most aspects of fiction writing. It is not meant to be a comprehensive guide, but a book to sit next to you while you approach your next writing project. It will help you reach the basics of each step, encourage and guide you, without focusing too much on any one writing process. It really is a great little helper.
At the end of most sections, James’ provides a “check list” for you to quickly and easily apply his techniques to your writing. He gives you the tools and lets you apply then as you need.
James V. Smith Jr. has a casual and informative writing style that keeps you engaged without being intimidating. He shares his real life experiences, tips and tricks and stories about his own writing and family. He feels real and approachable. He has managed to make every stage of writing clearer with his book.”
Michelle Brumley has participated in National Novel Writing Month since 2010 and successfully completed her first Camp NaNoWriMo with 25,000 words written during July 2013. She has completed NaNoWriMo since 2011 with 50,000+ words written each November along with her fellow Spokane River Writers. She won a local Spokane Science Fiction and Fantasy writing contest in 2010 with her short story, “The Burning City.”
Michelle has written science fiction and dark fantasy for over eight years. She is currently working on a dark fantasy novel. Her literary journey can be followed on her website: BloodGateKey or on her Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bloodgatekey