Monday 11 January 2021

Review by Asha Krishna of "Ten Things About Writing" by Joanne Harris

When Joanne Harris’ name appears on a book about the craft, it is bound to attract attention. So, how is it better or any different than the ones already out there? 

Ten Things About Writing is clearly designed for the tech-savvy contemporary learner attracted to the luxury of a well-laid-out website. The book is moulded in a similar fashion, offering writing advice in a very palatable format with its crisp short sentences. 

It is divided into ten sections, each section containing ten short chapters. Each chapter is further laid out in ten bullet points. It is so easy to dip in and out that you whizz easily through the pages and marvel at how much has been packed into those short chapters. 

Right from getting into the zone to constructing a nuanced narrative, the book covers a wide range of topics. It offers tips on basic skills of “show not tell” and foreshadowing with equal ease, making it a comprehensive writing toolkit for the novice as well as the advanced practitioner. 

Harris’s experience as a contemporary author shines through when she discusses commercial issues like readings and requests. There is a section that addresses all sort of random queries from publishing trends to handling frustration. The questions are random and yet relevant for the writer navigating their way round the writing world.

The book ends with section, “Welcome to the dark side” and this is the best part where the stern, but warm voice inspires the reader and urges them to take pride in leading the life of a writer.

For someone keen to understand the concepts, this is a great book; for someone looking to sustain the joy of writing, this is invaluable. 

About the reviewer
Writer, mum, craft-crazy, Asha Krishna was one of the mentees on the Middleway Mentoring Scheme in Leicester. Her fiction and articles have been published in print and online. She tweets as @ashkkrish

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