Friday, December 9, 2011

Writing Your Way by Julie Smith: Review & Book Spotlight

Writing Your Way by Julie Smith is a new book out that encourages writers to make up their own rules, for writing teachers to cut their students some slack, and insists on taking the "nonsense" out of writing! Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book for allowing me to participate in this blog tour!

About the Book:

WRITING YOUR WAY is a no-nonsense, jam-packed book on writing fiction that came directly out of the author’s belief that most writing teachers need to cut their students a little slack. Edgar-winner Julie Smith’s approach is to help you find your own writing method, not bombard you with “unbreakable” rules. But make no mistake, she’s going to give you plenty of how-tos—on plot, character, setting, voice, point-of-view, dialogue, pacing and marketing.  As well as plenty of practice exercises. And lots of motherly advice.

She also thinks most writing books are so absurdly padded they’re a waste of students’ time. Or they’re all about getting in touch with your inner writer so you can finally get started. WRITING YOUR WAY is for the pre-published novelist who is way past that. It gets right to the point. Offering nuts, bolts, and marketing methods, it’s a thick, dense concentrate of wisdom learned from years of actually… writing. Smith’s the author of dozens of novels and short stories and the founder of Writers’ Track, a method of teaching writing by conference call. She has also taught fiction both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


About the Author:

Julie Smith is the award-winning author of twenty novels and as many short stories. She’s a former reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the San Francisco Chronicle,  as well as a veteran of her own online writing school, plus an editorial service she founded with two other writers. She’s also taught writing at the  University of New Orleans and in numerous private seminars. During her long career as a novelist, she has created four mystery series, including two set in New Orleans where she lives, featuring homicide detective Skip Langdon and poet/P.I. Talba Wallis.

In 1991, she won the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel. Counting all the novels, all the stories in all the anthologies, the odd essay, and a progressive novel or so, her publishers include just about every big publisher– Ballantine, St. Martin’s, Tor, Walker & Company, Knopf,  Doubleday, Avon, Harper-Collins, Berkley, Warner,  and Oxford University Press– plus some smaller ones, including Akashic Books,  Carrol&Graf,  Allen &Unwin, Taplinger, and Four Star.

Her latest book is a how to writing book titled Writing Your Way: The Great American Novel Track.

Visit her website at  Follow her on Twitter at!/booksbnimble and Facebook at.  She welcomes your email at

My Thoughts:

What a unique approach to the task that so many writing teachers face, tackle, or challenge every year: students who either don't know how, or don't want to write.  I love the way Julie Smith writes about this issue and how she presents the solutions.  It is a must read for everyone who writes or teaches writing.

In addition to sharing her own experiences, she offers snippets and one-liners from other famous authors and writers and who better to show potential writers the ropes than them?  Additionally, she offers practical advice in language that even the most amateur writer can understand.  I love a book that does that, that doesn't talk above or over a reader, but TO a reader.

I also appreciate how well Julie Smith covers the ENTIRE writing press and what a writer may truly face as they embark on the journey.  It is important for there to be practical guides out there and kudos to Julie Smith for providing just that. 

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