Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey by Chuck Wendig

Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey
Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey by Chuck Wendig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a collection of blog posts by Chuck Wendig, who's something of a household name in foulmouthed writing bloggers. He puts his money where his mouth is, though: he's published freelance, through self-publishing, and traditional venues. He knows what he's talking about.

For him. I must emphasize that I didn't find everything he said useful in my own writing. Mostly, the utility came from thinking about things I took for granted about how to craft a good story. Some of the entries seemed random. Some were rambly and too theoretical. Generally, though, the book was a good mix of entertainment and information.

If you don't like swearing, you'll want to steer clear of Wendig, because he isn't shy about peppering profanity into his prose. I know that turns off a lot of readers, but it didn't bother me. It seemed appropriate. Again, for him.

There is something of a tone in some of the essays that implies his way is the One True Way to think about writing. He backpedals on that in his commentary, which is tacked onto the end of each entry. The commentary is there because he's learned better since posting some of these blog entries, and editing each post would probably be tedious. I thought it was a good approach, actually, to see what he learned as he went along. It goes to show how nebulous writing rules can be, and that you're in trouble only when you think you have all the answers.

Overall, if you like humor sprinkled liberally with profanity and you want to hear some perspectives on writing, it couldn't hurt to pick this up. Wendig infuriates some writers, and I can't blame them, but I do like that he gets me thinking about why I don't agree with him.

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