Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Seven Steps on the Writer's Path

For my debut book review, I thought I'd go off the beaten path and review a book by a fellow Kansan. The book is: 'Seven Steps on the Writer's Path' by Nancy Pickard (as well as Lynn Lott).

I first met Nancy Pickard (and she graciously autographed this book for me at that time) October 11, 2006. For those who aren't familiar with Nancy, she is a bestselling mystery writer, and a co-founder of Sisters in Crime, an international organization whose goal is to advance women as published mystery authors. It's a good group, and I've been blessed to be able to either attend or be a member of three different groups in the last decade.

Anyway, Nancy and Lynn published this book about five years ago.

What I like about this book is that the information contained in it can be applied to a variety of life's situations, not just writing. Lynn is a licensed family therapist, so her background seemed key in writing this book. Nancy brought the experience of having gone through what they believe are the 'Seven Steps' that every writer goes through in the process of writing anything from a poem to an epic.

They've labeled the steps as follows: Unhappiness, Wanting, Commitment, Wavering, Letting Go, Immersion, and Fulfillment. Using examples from multiple authors, including themselves, they showcase what these steps look like and how you can figure out if you're on them. Having just finished the rough draft of my sci-fi, 'Cora's Song', this past weekend, I can look back at the past 20 months or so and pick out when I was on each of these steps, so I would have to say their perceptions are accurate. In fact, I probably went through these stages twice during the book, due, mostly, to the fact that I had a baby in the middle of writing the draft!

The book also contains a smattering of quotes from writers & non-writers (Sue Grafton to Thomas Edison) in the margins that are applicable to the particular stage. This is fun for me, and gives me little quotes to share with my hubby.

While I think this book is good, and the information contained within is valuable to writers and non-writers alike, what I don't like is that the authors got a little long-winded. While the chapters are the stages, and they're divided into smaller segments (say, sub-stages), I found that having page after page running 30 - 40 pages a little much. Personally, I think they could have cut the amount by at least 1/3 and been good.

Still, coming in at about 240 pages, it's a good and important read. I would challenge you to pick up a copy, read it, learn from it, and determine where on the Writer's Path you are today.

Until next time,



K.M. Weiland said...

Sounds great! I'll have to check it out.

Tabitha Bird said...

Hmmm... interesting book. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on it. The inner workings of writing always fascinate me.

Liberty Speidel said...

Great! Since Nancy Pickard is a best-selling author, I wouldn't be surprised if you can find the book in your local Borders or Barnes & Noble, maybe even Half Price Books or other discount place.

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