Friday, 6 July 2012

How To Write - by Harry Bingham

Harry Bingham knows his onions when it comes to writing and publishing. Actually, for all I know he knows his onions when it comes to onions, too.

Recently, he proved his utter good sense by giving my Write to be Published a lovely write-up on his blog. And he's invited me back to the Festival of Writing in York to deliver some more crabbit advice - even more advice than last year. In fact, I'm going to have to go into stamina training for all the book doctor sessions and the mini-course and three other events. *flexes muscles*

But, Harry doesn't only run the Writers' Workshop (events, tutoring, mentoring, critiques), he also writes books himself. He has a new novel, Talking to the Dead, and, crucially for you, a new book on how to write called, er, How to Write. And it's a remarkably excellent book. Basically, I think How to Write and my own Write to be Published make a perfect couple. I think the two books should probably get married. Because I'm pretty sure they're going to bring into existence a whole load more books. Not that I have anything against books born out of wedlock, you understand.

Why are we bigging up each other's books, when you might think they are in competition? Does he actually plan to poison my coffee at the Festival of Writing? (Not if I can kick him somewhere with my pointy boots first.) No, the thing is our books are not in competition. His focuses on the writing - and in wonderful detail. Mine takes an overview of the whole process from idea through writing and to submission. I give nutshell advice about the important aspects of writing, too, but there's no doubt that How to Write is a real manual of writing.

He has detailed advice (with copious fascinating examples) on prose style, character, point(s) of view, structures, dialogue and pace; he shows you how to analyse plot problems and choose the right tense. To be honest, I don't think there's a single thing about how to write a novel that How to Write doesn't cover. I am in awe of the detail and the depth.

So, his or mine? Well, duh, both. I think you should read mine first - it will get you in the mood, set the scene, make sure you understand the background to what you're setting out to do and what publishers and agents need from you if they are to give you a deal. And then you'll be ready for Harry's fabulous book.

If Mr Bingham promises not to poison my coffee, I promise not to damage my pointy boots on his shins. And our books can live forever in perfect harmony.

10 comments:

Squidge said...

Hoping that copies of both will be available at York...
And it's set me wondering what other books could be perfect partners if you 'marry' them up!

Joe said...

Thanks for alerting us to this. Looks very useful!

Nicola Morgan said...

Joe - I genuinely think it's brilliant. If I think a book is less than brilliant I just slip away and make no sound!

Squidge - I will certainly have some copies of Write to be Published on me at all times!

catdownunder said...

Well I suppose I can settle for second best then...that means reading both books instead of hearing you both talk about them!
(Yours is looking a little tatty - it has paw prints in it. I may need to buy a second copy.)

Mike said...

I've bought both books and agree they complement each other very well.

Vanessa Harbour said...

Really useful post. Am off to buy How to Write so it can marry my Write to be Published - do you want an invite to the wedding?

Janice Horton said...

Thanks for the heads up on Harry's book. I'm sure it'll be a good one to partner with yours for sound advice, Nicola!

Suzy Norman said...

This is a wonderful book. Thanks for highlighting, Nicola. Particularly enjoyed the section on avoiding cliche. More than worthwhile.

Black Cat said...

I thought exactly the same thing when I finished reading How to Write and Write to be Published: they're such a perfect couple! Put together they cover pretty much everything I wanted to know, and everything I wasn't aware I didn't know. And both have prompted vigorous rounds of editing, which I think means they're good.

Nicola Morgan said...

Oops, just realised I didn't reply to some comments - sorry. Thank you all, for your appreciation of both books. I'll invite you all to the wedding!