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Good Reads Review: Ten Things About Writing by Joanne Harris

**spoiler alert** It’s a conversation that pops up a lot in our offices. On an almost daily basis, the Booktopia blog and socials are inundated with questions from aspiring writers. How do you begin writing a story? What is the best way to approach editing? How do you get a book published? These are honestly difficult questions to answer, even for authors who have been down the road of publishing a book before!

However, for those looking for that advice, there is now a book to help you get started. Crafted by Joanne Harris, author of over two dozen books (including the Rune series, and most famously, Chocolat), Ten Things About Writing is the kind of guide that not only provides instruction for the aspiring author, but also encourages you to develop your own creative process. Newcomers and experienced writers alike have much to gain from this handy help book.

Harris’ casual, almost blunt writing style fits especially well here, and she doesn’t mince words when it comes to highlighting how difficult writing a book actually is. She goes deep into the process of organising your workspace, getting into the headspace to write, the key building blocks authors must focus on when crafting a story, guiding your characters, how to add those seamless details and more. And yes, this is before you have even completed the first draft.

What is often a stumbling block for aspirational authors is also explained: that of the process of publishing. Joanne highlights how publishers, editors, publicists, designers, booksellers and more fall into the chain of what it takes to actually produce a book. This is especially valuable, as often the actual act of editing and marketing can be a mystery and without guidance many stumble.

Lastly, Harris also goes into some of the most unthought-of ideas for new authors: what happens if you actually make it. With that comes challenges that are unique in their own right, even going down to the pressure of having to write your second or third book. What is best about this is that the mirth and honesty displayed in the book turn it into a reassuring companion, highlighting that these challenges have been experienced by all authors.

Ten Things About Writing is a valuable compass that all aspiring writers should read. From those first words to the final sign-off, what is most impressive is the way in which Harris encourages you not only with improving your writing, but also with developing your own style of work. It is an absolute must for those who are serious about becoming an author!


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