Sunday, July 16, 2017

Write with Fire by Charles Allen Gramlich

Write with FireWrite with Fire by Charles Allen Gramlich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a partial recycle, since I originally blogged about this book shortly after it came out. That was like eight years ago, though, so most folks reading my blog now probably haven't seen it. If anyone cares, Charles and I have been commenting on each other's blogs for coming up on ten years now. We're friends, more than "Facebook" type friends, but less than people who know each other in realspace, or even e-mail regularly. I like him a lot, but anyone who knows me knows that I never bullshit about writing, so my review of his book (or the book of any other writer I know) is what I actually think, untainted by the delicacies of personal admiration or friendship.


So You Want to Be a Writer
First Words
Writer's Block No More
Tipping the Odds in Your Favor
Writing with Purpose
Don't Talk, Write!
Writing with Confidence
Five Habits of Publishing Writers
Quick Versus Slow Suspense
Six Steps to Creating Suspense
The Mechanics of Suspense
Creating Sympathetic Characters
Characters: The Best and the Rest
Harvesting Memories
Writing Your Past for Fun and Profit'
The First Rule of Endings
The Curse of the Lazy Ending
Endings: What's at Stake
The Physical Side of Writing
One Way to Put a Style Together
Writing for Excess (with "Barbarian's Bane")
Writing with Attitude
Selling and Reselling (with "To the Point")
The Working Man's Curse
Punctuate It and Forget It!
Problem Words
A Grammar Primer
Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite
By Example
Before You Submit, Don't Forget


Writing Groups
Page-Turners: What Makes Them, What Breaks Them
In Praise of the Net
Blogging: Pros and Cons
Pro Versus Amateur
Expand Your Mind
Fun with Fear
Why Horror
Horror Writers: The Crazy Truth
The Horror Lists
Dream Stories
Criticism Hurts
An Error in Detail
Ernest Hemingway: A Writer's Life and Death
Jack London: Two-Fisted Writer
Ken Bulmer: Death in the Family
Where Have All the Good Themes Gone?
Writing Weather
What the Writer Wants
Rest in Peach: Short Story
Five Years Down the Road


A Writer on the Run
Readin', Writin' and Me
Death by Prose
Kids Insane
Fiends by Torchlight Introduction
About My Novels

This book is a stack of essays collected together into a book. I enjoy reading this kind of writing book, because it feels like sitting down with another writer and listening to them talk shop. "This is important, and this is useful, and oh, this funny thing happened to me, and here's what I learned from it. And whatever you do, do not do this, because this is what happened when I did it and it wasn't fun at all...." That kind of thing.

So while there's an essay entitled "Creating Sympathetic Characters" which is about what you'd expect it to be about, there's also one called "The Workingman's Curse," which discusses writing around a day job and how to cope when everything goes pear-shaped.

I highly recommend the latter essay, by the way, for its entertainment value as well as any actual lessons to be learned. He lists the events of one particular week when he got no writing done at all because of an ever-growing series of crises and calamities, and I have to admit I was LOLing by the end of it -- poor Charles must have desecrated a shrine or something, seriously. :D

There are discussions on punctuation and getting started and work habits, which are fairly typical of writing books, and sections on blogging and criticism and keeping hydrated, which are less so. And the whole thing is written in the very clear and readable style I've come to know while following Charles's Blog for the last ten years. I highly recommend this book to everyone, those who've been at it a while as well as those who are just starting out.

The one thing to wish for here is an electronic version -- the book is only available in paperback, which is an issue for some. This is definitely worth a read, though, even if you're not usually into books made of dead trees.


Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, thanks so much for running this. Much appreciated. Glad you found the book of use. There were originally plans to do it in ebook and I wish they would, but my original editor died before that happened and nothing further has been done about it at the publisher. Maybe it'll still happen.

Angie said...

Charles -- you're very welcome. :)

Did you license electronic rights? If so, was there a duty-to-publish clause in it? Hopefully with a drop-dead date?

You might be able to publish an electronic edition on your own, if your publisher doesn't have that tied up. There are a lot of writing/publishing books out there right now, all the recent ones have electronic editions, and interest is very high from what I can tell. It'd be worth it, I think, to get something up. Definitely nudge your publisher about it, and check your contract if they stonewall you.



David Cranmer said...

I have enjoyed his work for a number of years and am fortunate to call him friend.

Angie said...

David -- I've seen you around. [nod] Definitely a cool book, by a good guy. :)


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles is more than an online and blog friend, and I have enjoyed his writing — through his stories, posts and dreams — over many years. I like to read such books on writing too, the equivalent of a writer's travel journal.

Angie said...

Prashant -- me too. :) I'm reading another, similar book right now that I hope to finish in time to review on Sunday. Writers talking about writing and the writing life is something I've always enjoyed, something to read while kicking back with a snack.


Oscar Case said...

Oh yes! I have Charles' book on writing and very much enjoyed it. I hope soe of his tips and how-to's stick.

Angie said...

Oscar -- I enjoyed it too. Good stuff. :)