Here at Loony Literature we want to help writers as much as we can so I’ve been reading books on writing and looking for ways to smooth the path which are useful and not too expensive. The first of this series looks at Jane Wenham-Jones’ “Wannabe a Writer?” and “Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of?”
Reading these two books is like being with a warm, entertaining friend who gives your spirit a good hoisting. These are not the usual books which will teach you how to write character or setting, these are books which will open your eyes to the reality of being a writer and teach you how to cope with it.
I’ve had my own experiences of rejections and know how soul destroying it is; I also know that until it actually happens to a would be writer, they really do not know what it feels like. So whether you’ve just had your first rejection or are on the point of using them as wallpaper, Jane’s books will give you a mental massage and help you to cope . She is brutally honest about the shedload of rejections she received and the way it made her feel. Did she falter? Did she hell – undaunted Jane kept on going. I don’t want you to get the impression that she is an over confident person who gets up everyone’s noses – she isn’t. She is also honest about having to knock a glass of wine back before she battled on. This is what is so uplifting about Jane’s books on writing – she is incredibly human. Have you ever been at a literary festival or in a bookshop and suddenly felt as if you want to bite everybody’s head off because of that rising green bile taking over your body? Well, it’s okay. You’re not the only one. Jane talks about jealousy quite openly. She wisely points out that it doesn’t go away; we continue to feel it as there is nearly always someone else higher up the ladder.
About five years ago, I was at a Crime Festival listening to two extremely well known crime writers slagging off the Harry Potter books. They said that writers wrote this type of book because they couldn’t work out a plot; they simply waved a wand to get out of scrapes. There were more comments and belittling of the books and it became obvious that the green imp was at work. Both of those writers are extremely high up on the Crime Writing ladder so I think Jane is right about this aspect of human nature.
It is fairly unusual to find a physical section in books about writing, I don’t mean Jane starts sprouting off about her sex life, she points out things which can go untoward with the body like writer’s bottom, writer’s stomach, neck, wrist and shoulder problems. This might seem a little off the wall to some but I know from past experience that when we are in dire pain from bad posture when typing – you can’t write a single word.
I don’t know if this is something peculiar to me but quite a few writing books have pages and pages of the writer’s own works in them to demonstrate what they are talking about; after so much, this really hacks me off. I understand that it helps if they are trying to demonstrate how to create a setting but some really do not know when to stop. Jane’s books are full of quotations from other writers and so there is more of a balanced approach; it’s a bit like being at a very noisy party.
Finally, I would just like to add that “Wannabe A Writer We’ve Heard Of?” is the honest reality about once you’ve been published. The game is not over once the ball is in the net – or in writing talk – your book is published. Publishing a book these days is similar to throwing a needle in a haystack; unless folk know it’s there and exactly where to find it – well use your imagination. Jane talks frankly about promoting both your work and yourself. Reading her book could save a lot of time, effort and money as she’s been there and has experienced wasting full days and travelling miles for nothing.
I found this book especially useful as I have a book which needs lots of editing and is giving me grief. A plot for another book was starting to come through and I thought I would start on that. However, in “Wannabe A Writer We’ve Heard Of”, Jane talks about a book’s USP (unique selling point). When I read about that and how I could use it to further promote the book which is virtually written, I realised that the book I am working on has got a great USP and I could do lots around it to promote it. As you can imagine, I’ve decided to carry on with that. So for the very small price of “Wannabe A Writer We’ve Heard Of” on Kindle, I have had a decision made for me and it has saved me time and energy.
To find out more about Jane and her books, follow these links:
If you’re not interested in writing at all and are here by mistake, maybe you might like Jane’s latest book instead about controlling your body size or as Jane likes to call it:
If you have any writing books which you would like to recommend, please feel free to share your experiences here with us.
- Combatting Writer’s Bottom with Jane Wenham-Jones (imeldaevans.wordpress.com)
- Writing prompts to set you fizzling and end that writer’s block (jilllondon.wordpress.com)