Posted in Book reviews

The Fiction Writer’s Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf

Fiction Writer's Handbook CoverPublisher: White Whisker Books, November 16, 2012
Category: Non-Fiction, Writing, Publishing

Blurb: The Fiction Writer’s Handbook is the definitive volume to explain the words and phrases that writers and editors use when they talk about a work. In the highly competitive publishing world, today’s writers need to stay ahead of the competition and make every sentence count. This book will help new writers who need an understanding of the writing process, and for seasoned writers, it is a powerful tool.

My View:  If you are thinking why I am reading a writer’s handbook, well, perhaps I have never let out the secret, that before coming back to my first love of reading, for a couple of years in between I was hardly reading but writing a lot. And now that I have come back to reading, my writing has gone for a toss and I would like to get back to it. So this book seemed like a great start. What a start indeed.

I started reading the book and the list of topics had me going dizzy, I wondered where to start and then I saw that it was very clearly indicated, I had to start with the first draft. It was something like 3 pages long on my Kindle and I said ‘only 3 pages?’ but when I got to reading I found myself going all over the book with those 3 pages. You wonder how? Well, there were a lot of terms in those 3 pages that took me to another page when clicked on, which further had more terms to click. Got that?

Ah well, this book works so well as an ebook. Everything is in your reach with just one click. I loved the way I went in deeper and deeper into the nuances of creating a first draft. I got to know things I didn’t knew before. My habit of reading a lot helped because when I read the examples, I was nodding, remembering ‘oh that book had this, oh this was done in that book’.

So what happened was that reading those 3 pages took me an hour which was when I finally returned to the original page and sighed a happy sigh. Now I need to write my first draft before I dig in. And dig in, I will. This book is such a wonderful resource for all that a writer needs. Highly recommended if you are into writing.

4/5 stars – I really liked it. images (1)

Praise for The Fiction Writer’s Handbook:

“Knowing how editors choose one work over so many others would give any writer an advantage. To that end, Lowenkopf, a longtime writer, editor, and educator, delivers the fiction-writing guide he has always longed for-one that can be applied to the practical goal of every aspiring writer: getting published… VERDICT: An invaluable insider’s take on what editors look for when sifting through the slush pile.” -Henrietta Thornton-Verma, Library Journal

“The effect is also similar to falling down a rabbit hole. To put it plainly, it’s a tool that anyone who loves to learn more about the craft of writing won’t be able to put down, an indispensable addition to any writer’s library.” –Marc Schuster, Small Press Reviews

“Shelly Lowenkopf has cooked up literary gumbo for all writers. Once you’ve sampled it, you won’t be able to stop coming back for more.” -Ehrich Van Lowe, author of bestseller Boyfriend From Hell

“It’s encyclopedic in its erudition, yet as practical as a toolbox. It’s also the masterwork of a brilliant mind, which has devoted itself to its subject and its students. Finally, as Sinatra might put it, it’s simply a kick in the pants.” -Gerald Locklin, poet

“The Fiction Writer’s Handbook is one of those rare reading experiences-insightful, unusually useful, and wise.” -Gayle Lynds, author of bestseller The Book of Spies

About Shelly Lowenkopf:

Shelly Lowenkopf taught in the University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing Program for 34 years, has taught at the annual Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference since 1980, and has been guest lecturer in many schools and conferences. He is currently Visiting Professor at the College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, with classes in noir fiction, the modern short story, genre fiction, and developing a literary voice. Lowenkopf has served as editorial director for literary, general trade, mass market, and scholarly book publishers, seeing over 500 books through the editorial and production process. His own short fiction has appeared widely in the literary press.

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Often seen with a nose buried in a book, you might spy me at a library while 500 unread books adorn my shelf. At other times, I'm busy travelling solo, eating out or looking for my new escapades. You will always find me doing too much all at once.

4 thoughts on “The Fiction Writer’s Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf

  1. Well if I had any chance of being a writer I would read this, but alas I lack imagination. I can technically write at least but beyond that, no talent 😦 Good luck with your writing!


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