Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Muse Review: Fiction Writer's Brainstormer by James V. Smith

Fiction Writer's BrainstormerFiction Writer's Brainstormer by James V. Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fiction Writer’s Brainstormer by James D. Smith Jr. is an excellent book although somewhat misleadingly titled. It does indeed have some excellent brainstorming exercises, but it's great strength is in the many checklists that uses to help define and structure critical areas of fiction.

Chapter 16 entitled: Bonus! The Eighth Habit of Highly Effective Writers, has miscellaneous tips in it that make it worth the cover price of the book. I love how it uses miscellaneous techniques to help writers with description issues. It also shows several dialogue tricks which will help any writer improve his dialogue writing significantly.

The brainstorming portions of the book provide tools that any writer could use. One called the Bracketing Tool forces you to think of the many different solutions to specific problems and provides good examples of how they are used. It uses similar techniques for coming up with titles of stories or books, create specific images, and coming up with plot resolutions.

But probably the greatest strength of this book is the use of checklists throughout its. Instead of using brainstorming techniques it uses standard checklists to take a look at various story elements and helping make the book rates one example is that has a checklist for determining whether that you have a good story idea what should happen in the first hundred words, the first thousand words, 10,000 words and in the last 10,000 words. The specific checklists give you something to think about when looking at your story analytically. This book also uses a list of blank forms that you can photocopy out of the back to help you with writing tasks, scenes in your story, character information and even readability of your story. The book is broken down into many series of check boxes and bullet lists explaining what elements of fiction need to be in each area such as plot, seemed, character, conflict, and even good story ideas.

This book does an excellent job of hitting all the critical points of fiction. By providing some tips on how to improve without going overboard. Originally started reading this book to be a comparative title for the book I'm currently writing: Creative Thinking for Creative Writers, but found the book to include much more.

This book delivered much more than I expected, and definitely earned 4/5 stars and is well worth adding to your writing reference library.

Rating **** (Buy on Sale/Discounted)

About Ratings: ***** -- Well Worth it at Full Retail Price; **** — Buy on Sale/Discounted; *** — Buy Used; ** — Borrow It from the Library; * — Waste of a Good Tree

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