Jodie Renner’s FIRE UP YOUR FICTION is a handy manual for writers looking to make the biggest impact with their craft. Renner shows and tells: Each chapter offers precise rules of what to do, and what not to do, with plenty of concrete examples. A section at the end invites the reader to be the editor and apply all the knowledge imparted throughout the book.
While this manual may be useful to authors at any stage of their careers, it is probably best suited for the novice or the writer who has completed a first draft and needs to go back and revise. With a whole draft in hand, the chapters serve as a trusty map, practical checklist and action plan all in one.
Renner once specialized in editing thriller fiction – and it shows. This book is packed with cries for action (Don’t overexplain! Don’t lecture!) and moves at a brisk, no-nonsense pace. There is a certain rush in seeing the sloppy, awkward “before” transform into the lean, mean “after.” Chapters are clear and succinct. Some leave you breathless. Chapter 21 offers a priceless lesson in the importance of choosing the right word, by demonstrating alternatives to such ordinary choices as “walked,” “run” and “looking.”
A couple of minor flaws: Many points are needlessly repeated, and there are numerous typos and formatting errors, at least in the Kindle version. Still, this book belongs next to that other must-have classic, Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.
FIRE UP YOUR FICTION is the Strunk and White for writers who want to be not just mere storytellers but master story-compellers.
Reviewed by Lucy Wang for IndieReader
<<This book review was based on the e-version provided to IndieReader. Since the publication of this review, an updated version has been released.>>