The Kick-Ass Writer (Book Review)

Every word smith needs, from time to time, a reference, a remedy for writer’s block, or a fresh perspective. The Kick-Ass Writer can do all of these things and does it in a way that is unique to its author, Chuck Wendig.

The Kick-Ass Writer

The book covers everything from fundamentals like what it means to be a writer to wrangling characters and narrative to writing query letters and dealing with agents. What makes it a great quick reference is that all the topics are organized into lists of 25, such as “25 Things You Should Know About Narrative Structure,” so you can read through any one subject them in about 15 minutes.

It should also be noted that Chuck, a great enthusiast of the f-bomb, sought to reach a wider audience with this book and reigned in the expletives, which really means that his euphemisms got that much better.  It’s a rare joy to read a book about the craft of writing that doesn’t become a struggle to stay conscious.

However, while the book covers many areas, no one topic is picked apart comprehensively. I don’t consider that a bad thing, just fair warning. Most of the items in The Kick-Ass Writer were compiled from his blog and other eBooks (though some are exclusive), so it makes for a better reference than a handbook. If you’ve never bought one of Chuck’s books before, get this one because it comprises material from all his other eBooks. The Kick-Ass Writer was also his first book to be printed in paperback if you prefer the real thing.

I do have one complaint though, and it’s that the book was poorly proofread. There were several points where the wrong words were used (things like ‘out’ instead of ‘our’), and one place where it was clear he meant to delete a phrase, but only deleted part of it. I know I’m being persnickety, but those kinds of errors jump out more when it’s a book about becoming a better writer.

All things considered, it’s a fantastic read and what I enjoyed most, (apart from phrases like “uncage the story bear”), is that there’s enough packed into these pages that I’ll be able to come back to it again and again whenever I need to give my muse a shot of mental espresso.

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