I know that to some of my less regular readers, a topic like this one might seem a bit off topic for this blog, however writing is a means by which I would love to someday facilitate my exit from the rat race.
I’ve read a couple books on the subject of writing now and the best so far and by far is Holly Lisle’s Mugging the Muse: Writing Fiction for Love and Money. I have never read any of her other books but reading this one made me want to. She so eloquently describes the nature of being a writer through the sorrows and joys and the triumphs and failures. She is a woman who has had more than her fair share of troubles in her life and has really poured that into her writing and made something very positive out of it.
I mentioned many months ago in an article about another writing book I had read titled $30 Writing School by Michael Dean. While Dean’s book has some useful information in it and I did enjoy reading it, so much of the contents of the book are fluff. He comes across as being a bit stuck on himself and a little preoccupied with sex (more than a little, which is apparent to those unfortunate enough to go to his website). Dean also had his share of troubles in life but most of those were of his own doing.
My point here is to simply draw a contrast between two writers of writing books. Holly Lisle’s book has left me feeling inspired in my own writing and wanting to spend money on her other writing. Michael Dean’s book was informative but self-indulgent. I don’t even remember how many times he tells you to buy his other books and plays it off as seeing examples of how he did things.
Dean does give more specific details in regards to dealing with editors than Lisle does. The one very minor drawback of Writing Fiction for Love and Money is that when a subject is approached that the auther has no experience with, she simply states that she doesn’t have experience with it and moves on without any further help to the reader. Honesty is great but in Lisle’s case it doesn’t make a comprehensive book on writing. It would seem that thing to have done would have been for her to consult someone who was an expert in the areas she was inexperienced with. But these were only in very minor industry related items that for most people probably wouldn’t be applicable anyway.
So if you are looking for a book on the subject of writing that is written by a real writer that has fought and struggled and climbed her way to a respectable status in the writing world then Mugging the Muse: Writing Fiction for Love and Money is for you. If however you want a book that is more of a “punk rock” approach and has some useful information then you might want to check out Michael Dean’s $30 Writing School, but only if you pay much less than $30.