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The Kick-Ass Writer

Like all things Chuck Wendig does, this book is NSFW, but hilarious if you don't mind a bit of poop humour and a generous helping of vulgarity. He's also got a strange preoccupation with hobos, but who am I to judge. It's still an intelligent and insightful book, chock-full of good, useful advice for writers. While this is mainly geared at newer writers, I still found plenty of great information, and I've been writing for 20 years.

This book is a collection of blog posts, so check out Wendig's blog to get an idea of what his writing is like. Despite the poop jokes and weird hobo references, the book is still intelligent and to the point. Wendig tells it like it is. Some of it is hard for a new writer to hear, but I think a healthy dose of reality is in good order now and then.

One of my favourite things about this book is that it's not full of rules you absolutely must follow or your books will spontaneously combust. I get turned off by a lot of how-to-write books because they often say ridiculous things like: You must write 1000 words between 5-6am every day and without breakfast or you will fail. Sorry, dude, I'm still asleep at 6am and don't function without breakfast. I write around 11pm. Because that's what works for me.

And this is an honest book that encourages writers to find what works for them, and offers some advice on how to figure that out. The only rule of write-club is that you have to write. When and how doesn't matter, and Wendig is one of the few pros I've seen who will admit this.

My only problem with this book is that it is only advice. There are no prompts or exercises, and very few examples, most of which draw from Wendig's personal experience and may not translate well for all writers. Still, I've dog-eared dozens of pages and already taken some extensive notes from The Kick-Ass Writer and applied them to my current rewrites of the Blueshift trilogy.

If I've found so much value out of this book when I've been writing for such a long time -- with one novel already published and another due out soon, plus a short story being released in the not-too-distant future -- then I can only imagine how useful it will be for new writers.

I highly recommend this book to all writers of all levels, and to people who are curious about writing. I think it's a great book to pair with some of my other favourites, like Lukeman's The First Five Pages or Novakovich's Fiction Writer's Workshop, which have great examples and exercises.

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