I am a huge fan of online ruffian Chuck Wendig. He is hilarious on social media, his website Terrible Minds (terribleminds.com) is funny and informative, and he has his tentacles in long novels and comic books and everything in between. He’s the fun uncle (funcle?) with the bushy beard that you want to get all your life (and writing advice) from.
I picked up this book recently, figuring it to be a good companion to his very well written and helpful book Damn Fine Story. When I received it, I saw that it was a series of advice in 25 item groups, similar to the #TenThings threads I’ve been following with Delilah S. Dawson, another writing guru and dreamboat. I began reading, figuring that a bunch of lists would be quick work and I would be able to bookmark where the currently relevant information was and come back to it later.
Oh dear reader, I would not recommend this. Not even close. Look at this Table of Contents.
The Kick-Ass Writer should be viewed as a dictionary or a quick reference guide. If you are writing a book and you need inspiration concerning setting you might pick this up, read the chapter “25 Things You Should Know About Setting,” and then immediately put it down again. It is painfully obvious that these chapters must be sitting on his website somewhere and I could have gotten this advice on the interwebs. I tried to read this like a book and that is not what it is meant for.
Aside from the structure lending itself to reference instead of reading through, there is the subject of Wendig’s humor, which I love but admittedly lost a taste for after about 4 “25 Things” lists of it. I still love it, especially when it pops up on my Twitter feed to give me a giggle, but this as well as other Books From Blogs (TM) tend to lose their flavor when smushed into book format. I’m supposed to have these to enjoy once a week, not necessarily to binge read for motivation.
Chuck is one of my top five authors whom I trust, follow, and look to for advice as I begin my journey in the traditional publishing world. This book will remain on my shelves, but as reference and reminder, not as a read-through novel. If you are an aspiring writer, you should pick it up too and check out his website. You won’t be disappointed.