In this how-to book about the storytelling craft, the writer combines expository writing with memoir to offer insight about strategies for writing fiction and how it can provide a balm for the troubled soul.
... organic and user-friendly in a way that some writing guides are not. Personally, I love craft books (I even list posted about it) and it’s fun to see how Anders’ book fits into the landscape. Many of them also function as quasi-memoirs, or begin to feel almost like self-help manuals, Anders’ book is chatty, funny, and walks you through things like how to construct a scene, how to build a plot, how to make your characters more real—the kind of things that you have to be comfortable with in order to tap into your voice as a writer. I also liked that Anders drew on her years as a major voice in SFF to give some genre-specific advice ... I loved that in the midst of all the nuts-and-bolts advice, Anders also made...a case for joy ... I had to keep stopping to make notes for the novella I’m working on. Which is maybe the best accolade I can give a craft book? It took me longer to read the book and write this review, because I kept feeling inspired to work on my own fiction and had to make time for that instead.
... [an] insightful, instructive essay collection ... Readers will find wisdom on traditional topics such as worldbuilding and creating dynamic characters, but Anders also discusses imposter syndrome, how to harness authentic emotion and fiction's place as a tool ... Originally conceived as a series of blog posts published on Tor.com during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, Anders's essays provide an inspiring testament to the power of art to bring clarity and healing. Aspiring writers will pick up tricks of the trade, but her advice about taking refuge in creativity could apply to any art.
Anders gifts readers with digestible and motivating writing advice dipped in a satisfying coating of snark. Using her own life and writing career as inspiration, Anders cuts through preconceived notions of what it is to be a writer, dismissing dichotomies and spilling truths about imposter syndrome ... Through her encouraging counsel and intriguing questions, she encourages writers to keep writing and continue telling stories, brainstorming, daydreaming, listening, and to have faith in their own abilities and their heart. Anders gives both new and experienced writers questions, exercises, and encouragement that will spark ideas and keep them motivated to continue their work.