Thursday 21 August 2008
This easy-to-read book caught me by surprise. After downloading Noah Lukeman's free e-book called "How to Write a Great Query Letter" I bought "The First Five Pages" new as a "thank-you".
From the title and back blurb I expected the usual ho-hum "how-to-write" instructions on adjectives, dialogue, viewpoint etc. Instead, I found a little gem. The author's love of writing as an art came through on every page, and his view of writing as a professional reader (he is a literary agent by profession) was insightful and practical. He isolates common problems, offers detailed solutions and gives end-of-chapter exercises to practice what one has just read about. He's blunt to the point of almost putting one off writing ever again from the sheer magnitude of what it takes to turn a raw manuscript into a real story. Lukeman also holds a tough stance on writing as an artistic endeavour (he is no literary snob, though, he talks of Grisham and King as well as Conrad and Kafka). Ultimately, though, I learnt more about writing from this book then I did from my 18 months Masters degree.
The book is inspiring. The last paragraph is profound. The last sentence had me sharpening my pencils again after a year long hiatus, eager to write simply for the joy of it.