Have you kept your inner author in check too long?
Anyone who has made a living helping managers and organisations is already a master of the creative use of language. We are verbal alchemists who transform pejorative descriptions of people and organisations into constructive feedback. So it is surprising to discove that a book entitled Creative Writing for Dummies has so much to teach those of us whose inner author has been kept in check too long.
Anyone with a burning passion to write and a desire to do it well will find Maggie Hamand's book a handy vade mecum offering assistance on everything from how to choose a subject or write about emotions to how to use the Jungian concepts of anima and animus to create fictional characters who disturb, charm and fascinate . We are offered signposts to examples of good writing, ways to avoid elementary errors and plenty of practical exercises. Ms Hamand's friendly tone reassures us that creative writing is, like learning to drive, a difficult skill we can all master with enough practice.
The book is organised into six parts which take us from how to get started, through the creation of character, dialogue and plot to how to succeed in writing in each of six fiction genres and five non-fiction ones. These are followed by chapters covering getting published and how to get yourself taken seriously as a writer. Finding your way around is simple: it has exhaustive contents lists and index plus a structure which tells you what it's going to do and then does it (it even has a pull-out 'Cheat Sheet' summarising the key points).
I would recommend Maggie Hamand's book to anyone wishing to improve their writing. Once you have done so you might want to look for additional help in finding a market for your work. Creative Writing for Dummies seems stuck in the past when it comes to how to get published . In the twenty-first century this is a DIY process where authors must self-edit, self-publish (via a blog or maybe www.authonomy.com ) and self-publicise through internet-working and search engine optimisation (see eg. www.seochat.com , www. google.com/analytics).
Only writers with proven readership are likely to gain the attention of commercial publishers. Disappointingly the chapter on blogging appears to have been written in haste and is not very clear.