Foreword: A Technical Approach to Novel Writing

Writing is hard. Writing, is hard. Writing: it’s hard. From early on in one’s writing journey, speed bumps, pitfalls, and diversions can stifle creativity and cast a shadow over the work.

Writing is hard. It’s easy to include purple prose, adjectives, POV issues, plot holes, passive writing, and using a go-to word or phrase 437 times over the course of a novel. The list of potential writing slip-ups is long indeed. Writing stories means long hours dedicated to one’s craft, with little chance of success. It’s difficult, at times, to remember why anyone does it at all.

Writers are hard work. They are hard to fathom, hard to direct and most certainly, their work can be hard to edit. Writers, with the best will in the world, will lose track of their story and not notice it’s happened. We can leave cringe-inducing spelling errors in a passage of work that we have declared polished. Though most committed writers work hard, writers are hard work.

Editors are not always the same. For each whimsical writer devoted to an arc or a vision, there is an editor. This editor may or may not be as devoted to the work. There are disgruntled ex-writers, non-gruntled non-writers, and gruntled writers looking for a side project. The term editor covers as broad a range of skills as the term writer does. As a result of such a variance, writers need to be choosy. In the editing process, it seems evident that too many chefs crowding around the work surface will ruin the souffle. There needs to be an established trust that allows an exchange of ideas. A creative safe space where two heads are better than one. Editors are sometimes different.

Consider expertise. The nature of expertise in a creative writer is an ethereal question. Many debut writers, breaking many “rules”, have garnered great success. Other experienced writers have struggled to achieve any success.

Expertise as an editor is a different business entirely. A critical gaze is vital in the latter stages of any creative writing project. Yet, not all editors possess the skills to work on many project types. The writer must seek out the expert for their expertise, yet, one writer’s expert is another writer’s speed bump. Expertise in the art of writing is what’s called for.

In buying A Technical Approach to Novel Writing, you have unlocked a resource that provides just that. Over long years, Phil has built up expertise and experience in various genres and styles. He is a writer himself, a publisher, a ravenous reader and, as you will discover, a storyteller. This book gives a refreshingly enjoyable guide to writing. It will make as much sense for writers as it will for editors. Phil guides with the steady hand of an expert, using step-by-step instruction, anecdotes, excerpts and more. The art of writing is on display, and Phil explains the mechanics in a way that will assist the most basic beginner through to the most wizened, world-weary wordsmith.

That writing is hard will never change. It’s why few of us out there manage to achieve our writing goals. There are ways for us to make the process easier. Expanding our expertise is one surefire way to accomplish that. A Technical Approach to Novel Writing will develop and extend your writing expertise. Read it, use it, and reread it.

In doing so, you can lower those speed bumps, fill in those pitfalls, and lessen the diversions on the road to success.

John De Búrca

Preorder: A Technical Approach to Novel Writing

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