• Debbie Rasure

Review: How I Write by Janet Evanovich and Ina Yalof


I have a confession - I’ve never read a Janet Evanovich novel. I tried. Twice actually, but the characters just didn’t grab me. So when I saw How I Write by Janet Evanovich and Ina Yalof, I ignored it. Then that little voice inside my head (which always gets me into trouble) said, She’s the gal who writes those Stephanie Plum mysteries. You know, the ones that seem to hit every “best seller” list . . . New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, etc. She might know what she’s talking about.


Boy, am I glad I listened.


This is truly a gem of a little book. It’s an easy, quick read, divided into small sections and written in a conversational style. I felt like I was sitting in her living room, talking with her over a cup of coffee.


At 231 pages without the author bios, How I Write has something for writers at various stages of professional development. Beginners will find advice on all the typical things such as characterization, showing versus telling, POV, and dialogue. But there are also some great sections on writing action scenes, violence, sex scenes, cliff hangers, transitions, and writing a series.


Then in the second half of the book, it really gets good.


Janet (we’re big buds now) talks about revising and editing and even includes a checklist for critiquing your manuscript. She demystifies the publishing process, explains what agents and editors do and how to find them. She also addresses money – advances, royalties, and agents’ fees. I was pleasantly surprised at how frank she was about the business side of writing and making a living as a writer. This was one of the best books on writing and being an author that I’ve read. Visit http://www.evanovich.com/ to check out the book and explore her website.


After reading this book, I think I’ll give Stephanie Plum another try. Trenton, New Jersey, here I come.


Happy reading!


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