dragovianknight: a woman spans fire filled with fanciful shapes from one hand to the other (Writing - Telling Tales by the Fire)
[personal profile] dragovianknight
Today, based on someone gushing about it in one of my writers' forums, I went to pick up Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. As it turns out (thank you, Amazon memory), I have owned this book for almost two years.

Much like with the Libbie Hawker blurb book, my failure to remember this book was a sign.

This is very much a "how I do the thing" book (Aaron is upfront about the fact that she's writing down what worked for her), not so much a "here's how to do the thing" book. There are useful bits of advice (know what you're writing ahead of time, keep a writing log to discover when you're most prolific, etc), but I think Chris Fox does a better job of breaking it down into actionable steps. And let me be completely honest: enthusiasm is great, enthusiasm carried me through the first 1700 words of the Novel I'm Not Writing yesterday, but sometimes you have to pay the bills by writing what sells, really fast, like the old pulp writers used to do.

I mean, it's clear I'm not really enthusiastic about questionable porn, but I am really enthusiastic about the money it makes.

Anyway, back to the book.

This is not a "write to market" book, and I'm not even sure it's really a "how to write faster" book. As I said above, it's very much a "how I did the thing" book, part of which seems to be, "pick the projects you CAN write fast."

From the chapter "How I Plot a Novel in 5 Easy Steps", her test for how to pick what book to write:
1 - I can't stop thinking about it
2 - It writes itself
3 - I can see the finished product
4 - I can easily explain why other people would want to read it

Well, yes, of course you're going to be able to write something you're madly passionate about faster than book three of a trilogy that HAS to be written in order to finish a story you're tired of and not piss off your readers. See above about enthusiasm not being enough to pay the bills.

And then I got to the part about "give your characters agency and the story will write itself" and really didn't feel like continuing, because this was not a book helpful TO ME. (I have had characters drag me through stories, throw curveballs at me, and plant their feet and refuse to budge until I backtracked and unfucked something. I'm not saying characters can't be stubborn bastards. I'm just not sure that counts as reliable writing advice.)


So, another writing advice book that just doesn't work for me. It isn't wildly at odds with how my brain works, and honestly, a lot of it resonates with how I write fanfiction. But by the 50% mark, it just hadn't given me anything concrete or enlightening enough to keep me reading for the rest of her advice.
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