I mentioned a few times before that I think its important not just to read all-purpose craft books, but also those in your genre if possible. I enjoyed Will Write for Shoes by Cathy Yardly and now I can’t say enough about See Jane Write – A Girl’s Guide to Writing Chick Lit by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs.
Bestselling novelist Sarah Mlynowski and veteran chick lit editor Farrin Jacobs cover every stage of developing and selling your soon-to-be bestselling novel, with information on:
- developing an idea
- learning the basics of plotting
- deciding on a point of view
- pacing, and conflict
- making your characters likable
- finding an agent
—and much more, including humorous tips and advice from scores of established writers (from Meg Cabot and Marian Keyes to Emily Giffin and Sophie Kinsella). If you’ve got stories to tell, See Jane Write will take care of the rest!
First of all, these authors sure know how to write a craft book. Not only was it informative with practical advice it was highly entertaining. Writing in the Chick Lit voice, they guide you through the do’s and don’t’s in the genre.
I couldn’t resist giving a sneak peak of their categories of writers and what their main issue is, I’ll save their tips/solutions for when you read the book.
In a chapter titled “No More Excuses Missy” you have the following writer profiles:
- The Overwhelmed
- The Instant Gratification Addict
- The Procrastinator
- The Obsessive Perfectionist
- The Mess
- The Commitment-Phobe
- The Insecure
- The Really Busy
I’m pretty sure the majority of writers, whether they write in women’s fiction or chick lit or another genre, can find themselves fitting into one if not all of these categories.
What’s also great about this book is that when it comes to the more serious topics like revising and problem areas, its uplifting to see pull quotes from the big chick lit authors who say they’ve gone through the same thing, made the same mistakes or give some other funny anecdote that make you smile and realize that you can do it too.
As a bonus, and I know this shouldn’t really be a factor in whether or not you choose to read a writing craft book, but I have to mention that:
a) The interior pages are in colour! No black font on white paper. Everything is blue and pink.
b) There are cartoons of women like you’d often find on chick lit covers acting out some of the things mentioned in the text (ex. writing is like therapy, putting your reader to sleep) you can picture it.
c) There are great examples/templates of how not to write a query, opening chapter, etc., checklists and other useful tools like a character sheet and writing schedule sample.
As a person who likes visuals and works in print production, I have to say that “See Jane Write” raises the stakes for writing craft books. Its one you can read front to back very quickly due to the voice and easy layout. I will probably do so again soon just to be reminded that my favorite the big-name authors went through these things too.