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  • By Patricia J Esposito
    Jan 23, 2015
    How-tobooks on writing abound. So I asked myself what I liked about Dorothy Davies's HowMany Miles to Babylon over others I've read. The answers came easily. Theauthor is an editor who reads more fiction than most of us and sees daily whatworks and what doesn't. She writes in an easy, friendly style that doesn't meanher advice is sugar-coated: "I'm not the sweet and sugary type," shesays of her role as editor, "not going to tell people that with a fewstories accepted they're on their way to the big time, but equally," shesays, "I am not the kind of editor who normally sends stories back withoutsaying why." Davies seems genuinely interested in helping writers, and inthis book, she offers concrete examples to make her point, as well as offeringquestions that both pique and direct the imagination. Daviesbegins by saying we must accept "that writing is an apprenticeship thatnever ends." The book then tackles the most important aspects of... More > goodfiction: character and story. What makes us turn the page? What makes us read astory again and again? She looks at story ideas, plots, and character (offeringseventy-five story prompts to get the imagination going!). In looking at character, Davies offers numerous examples ofcharacter traits along with what writers must consider to keep charactersauthentic. She not only reminds writers of the importance of observation, butuses questions to immediately get us thinking about our characters (What TVshows would they watch? Are their bedrooms messy or neat?), the kinds ofquestions that we can't help but begin to answer, even as we read! Davies reminds readers about the importance ofatmosphere and mood, discussing ways to use setting and color. She teacheswhat's necessary for good craft while sparking the imagination in a richer way.The book's style allows for diversions and tangents, giving us a sense of howthe creative process comes together. Yet, she also tackles the logistics ofbeing a writer: the editing and submission process, understanding guidelines,searching markets, and coming to terms with rejections. As an editor, sheoffers examples of things she's seen that have worked and have not worked.Through these tougher parts of writing, Davies empathizes and encourages. I enjoyed this "how-to" bookbecause it was as much about stimulating the imagination as learning the craft,perhaps because that's where a good story begins, in a well-developed andobservant imagination.< Less
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Product Details

ISBN
9781291988352
Edition
1st
Publisher
Horrified Press
Published
August 18, 2014
Language
English
Pages
75
Binding
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
Weight
0.36 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
5.83 wide x 8.26 tall
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