The book “How I Wrote My First Book...The Story Behind the Story,” I feel is best summed up by the editors words on their title page.
“Twenty authors telling amazing stories about the efforts that went into writing their first book.”
For over twenty five years I've read a lot of interesting stories from a myriad of authors' experiences in writing their first fiction novel or non-fiction book. I truly thought I had a full appreciation of the the trials and tribulations that can accompany the adventure of writing your first book.
After reading this compilation of twenty authors detailing their individual journeys I have learned so much more. It is no easy task in this busy modern world to keep your dream and passion burning as you walk through the necessary experiences that carve out your writers voice, enhance your knowledge and experience, as well as grow you personally, and professionally.
Inside “How I Wrote My First Book” you not only get a real life glimpse into the day to day tests and trials that ushered in their finishing their first book. You then move forward with some of them as they get that “First” book published.
I use a capital F with quotes for a reason in the last sentence. Many would be authors, as well as those languishing after a failed attempt or two, are held down by a very popular misconception.
Many believe that they should be able to put their nose to the grind stone and a book will result. Yes, there are months and sometimes years of work. But then you have a finished book to show for your time, energy and dedication. Right?
Not true for so many of us! And that is the way it is suppose to be. And this is what I love most about this book. It starts off with author Christine Amsden, writing “My Million Words of Crap.” She opens the door of reality, right off the bat.
She starts off with: “During a writers' boot camp I attended in 2003, Orson Scott Card said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said that before a writer can turn out worthy material, each one will generate at least one million words of pure crap. At that time, I wasn't sure whether or not I had finished writing mine.”
Now in the science fiction or fantasy genre, first books are about one-hundred-ten-thousand words. When you do the math, one million words of junk is equivalent to writing about ten novels. Writing non-fiction books it takes even more to push through your first million words of junk.
Christine's detail of this reality touched my heart-strings. I applaud her for opening this wonderful book with a huge dose of reality. If I had known this when I first decided to write a book over 30 years ago, I would not have spent so many years second guessing myself.
Like Christine, I have been writing ever since I learned to read my first book. I wrote fiction stories first. Then articles for magazines. I worked as a professional ghostwriter for many years, easily cranking out bestsellers, as well as many other helpful non-fiction books for people who could not write themselves.
When it came to my own full length books however, it took me years to stop burning up my hundreds of handwritten binders after I finished a full length book. Back then I was sure there was something painfully wrong with me. Years later I discovered that many times we all need to live life, and practice our craft by writing full length books that don't see the light of day. Then, our abilities thrive and we finally write a full length book that is publishable.
The second thing I like about this book is the other nineteen authors who share their life experiences. I believe they all help a lot of people. Not to mention how much fun it is to learn about.
At the end of this book is a “contributing authors” section. Here you get to learn more about these amazing authors. The authors share their website addresses so you can follow them and learn some more. Some of the authors, like Christine, also included the names of some resources she found very helpful.
All in all this book brings a lot to current published authors as well as people still seeking to finish that sometimes daunting “First Book.”
The one suggestion I have; would be to do a longer book. Give the authors more room to really paint the full picture of the trail they blazed to finishing and then getting their first book published.
As an author, I think this book will help a lot of people. I've found over the years that knowing many of the journeys my fellow authors have taken has added strength to myself during different phases of completing a book.
Whether you are a published author or dreaming of becoming one...I feel this book is a must read. You never know when real life experiences of others will help you through trying times in your life. This book is no exception. Sit back and enjoy the twenty journeys inside.
I loved and learned so much from this book that I have decided to have this be the first book to kick off my book club in my forum. Watch for my announcement of my book club in the next few days.
Note: I purchased this book with my own funds to enjoy and review.
How I Wrote My First Book: The Story Behind the Story