Review: How to Write Fiction Without the Fuss

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This book does exactly what it says in the title: it gives you the tools to write fiction, from the first word to sending out your manuscript”

Amanda Addison, author of ‘Laura’s Handmade Life’

This is one of the few books I actually recommend to novice writers. Lucy McCarraher guides the reader throughout the basic steps that compose a work of fiction, including “outlining your plot and structure” ,”developing your characters”, “creating the setting” and “defining your theme”. This is a book that is incredibly easy and fast to read (it took me one hour, one hour-and-a-half) and it certainly is a must for everyone that needs a clarified idea about the tenets that surround fiction writing, as well as  the basic steps that you mentally have to take in order to produce the most structured and organized story you can.

I never read Lucy McCarraher’s work but this book is certainly an evidence of her organization and incredibly capacity of structuring. In 193 pages she was able to include many tips about writing, covering all subjects fiction-related and also sharing a little bit of her experience as an author. This book will definitely prove to be helpeful whether you are an experient writer or you are starting from scratch – in the first case, you’ll probably be familiar with some concepts such as the three-act structure but the whole reading proccess will reinforce your knowledge of the subject.

Either way, it’s a mandatory read for anyone who wishes to build or consolidate their writing skills.

Buy it on amazon or listen to the audiobook!

Book Review: “Helen of Troy” by Margaret George

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Helen of Troy, as the name suggests, tells the story of the famous War of Troy from the point of view of Helen, the spartan queen who fell in love with a trojan prince and whose love started the animosity between Greece and Troy.

Margaret George used an overall feminine perspective to narrate the events. Until the second half of the book, readers will be presented with the domestic worries and social challenges that Helen needs to surpass in order to overcome the legends and fateful curses that surround her life. After she escapes from Greece, the events of the War of Troy start to overlap with these trivial matters, turning a range of feelings and frustrations into a whole background of war and destruction that makes the light-hearted beginning of the story look like a long forgotten dream.

Margaret George’s writing style is forged to please the feminine reader: as mentioned before, Helen of Troy is nothing but a faithful approach of how trivial the life of a queen (and daughter of a god) could be in comparison to our own lives; her worries are entirely domestic and could even be considered futile at some point. The first half of the book lacks drama and action – the reader is rocked into a smooth lullaby, where Helen’s abashing passion for Paris works as the gears that makes the story proceed; then, suddenly, Troy is at war and everyone dies. In other words, what I call the string of drama is a little bit broken – I could even refer to the fact that in my country, Helen of Troy was broken down into two books and at the first page of the second book, all the drama starts happening. There isn’t a sense of continuity between those two distinct parts.

That aside, I need to mention that the second half of Helen of Troy is splendid. It completely makes up for the dull storyline that fills up the first 300 pages, portraying heartbreaking, breathtaking events that will always drive you to the edge of your seat. The characters gain density and maturity and their stories start overlapping with the grace that was needed since the beginning. Margaret George also had an intelligent approach that surrounds Helen’s part in the War of Troy, making up an ending that is completely credible and adjusted to the storyline and also Homer’s perspective of the war. Also, the end is a tearjerker – which is wonderful.

Buy it on amazon!

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