Monday, 20 June 2011

Penned Monkey Confessions...

‘In her panties lurked musky badgers.’

Got your attention? Good.

This is a direct quote from Chuck Wendig’s eBook, Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey. His book is filled with this colourful language, and the great thing about it is that it is book on being a professional author, with writing advice. Yes, writing advice. Professional Author.

Recently I’ve been doing a Creative Writing course and learning many great ways to throw out a little bit of word magic onto a screen. While studying I started reading writers and writing blogs and one that has now became a constant in my reading day is Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds. There he spouts wisdom in the arts of writing, in his own dramatic script.

Wendig has become a viral infection that’s dug deep into my writing life. He’s like a little monkey on my shoulder, whispering profanity-ridden sentences and snippets of golden counsel while I scribble in my notebook, conjuring up my next post or short story.

Confessions is a collection of his writing advice from his blog, and I’ve found it one of the most useful writing guides around right now.  Advice on how to be an author is plastered all over the place, from web forums, to books, to eBooks, to magazines, to retreats and university courses. Most have solid, good advice, structured in prescribed ways to help the student master the ways of writing. As I stated earlier, I’ve just finished a course at Uni, and I’ll tell you, I found it the basic advice and coursework hard to read and study (so I didn’t), dull at times (so I didn’t study), at times uninspiring (add negative statement here about not studying), meaning I’ve just about passed.

Confessions takes a different approach. Wendig’s prose is energised and memorable, while he drops in great snippets of wisdom, teaching (reprimanding and warning) us about the raw reality of being a writer. He tells you like it is, no holding back the punches. It is also a look into the life of a writer, which sounds mean, scary, exciting, and fantastical.

Chuck Wendig is a modern writerly-type. Gone are the wispy days of dreaming that you’ll become an ‘overnight bestseller’ (that’s a myth anyway) after writing your first tome of greatness. Gone are the writers who happily make golden word-princesses upon pristine pages over the span of several years in a land of milk and honey. There’s a growing breed of hard working (drinking?) freelance authors that have the skill and determination to weave their magic in different styles and genres, finishing novels every three or so months and EARNING that pay check at the end of a project.

Beware the side effects of this book however: You’ll find yourself swearing more, spouting dirtier metaphors and similes, and talking to your Granny about becoming a Penmonkey. Oh, you’ll also find that you'll be a better, more focussed writer (well, only if you still want to be a writer, that is).

On a final note, I've just realised that if I had just picked this up (for around £3.50) before doing the University course,  I may have saved hundreds (and hundreds) of pounds. You live and learn.

5 out of 5 ink-stained monkeys.

Go buy the book HERE or have a look in Amazon. For more of Chuck’s unique writerly advice visit his website Terribleminds

We’re not finished with Wendig yet. Let’s see how good he is. Look out for my review of one of his short stories from Irregular Creatures soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment