Friday, 6 July 2012
How To Write - by Harry Bingham
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.