Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey by Chuck Wendig

I’m not wearing pants for this review (American definition of pants that is).

This book is about how to be a writer, specifically a novelist. If you haven’t read anything by this author you may be surprised by both the amount, and the creativity of the profanities used. Personally I find lots of them bloody hilarious, and others have me rapidly searching the Urban Dictionary.

The basis of this book can be found at the terribleminds.com blog. However additional reflective passages after each essay provide added value.

I found this to be easy to read, informative, and inspiring. The most useful lesson I garnered from these essays were the reality checks. There is something really inspiring about a person that is able to give you their story warts and all. Learning from the actions of others can save so much time and bolster a flagging spirit in times of doubt.

I chuckled quite a lot reading this book. Of course when I read the funny parts out to my wife I just got “that stare”.

The main reason I read this book now is that I want to be Mr Wendig’s wombat warmer. That’s not right. I am writing a 25k word Masters dissertation soon and need to improve the planning aspect of my writing. That’s better I think.

I now have a few techniques and ideas that I am sure are transferrable to my technical writing. I’ve also been inspired by the Flash Fiction challenges on terribleminds.com and have posted a couple which I think I can now go back and improve some more.

There is a lot of emphasis on how important editing is to the writing process, and again I believe this is something that can be taken into any walk of life. From technical reports, to emailing your boss, clarity is king (or queen). There are a few typos that spoil the flow on occasion, but generally this is a well laid out and easy to read book. I can certainly see myself using the excellent contents page to look up particular essays in the future.

I enjoyed this book, as I did Irregular Creatures (buy that too). I have gained knowledge that will hopefully help improve myself and that alone makes this book worth the money for me. If you read the Acknowledgements page without laughing your soul is dead. Try it, read it now.

Oh, and I read this out loud before posting it (you’ll have to read the book to find out why).

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