YOU’VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU came highly recommended by a fellow writer. I’m glad someone told me about this delightful book because I wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. The title and cover made it seem like it would be heavy on inspiration and light on instruction. But Sims does an admirable job of covering the basics of plotting, dialog, characterization and pacing. There’s cheerleading aplenty, too, but it’s wrapped so tightly with good solid advice that the whole book reads like a down-to-Earth best friend telling it like it is.
YOU’VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU is divided into three sections. The first is about the writer’s mindset, getting ready to write. There’s an adjustment period for any new writer as they develop new habits, and Sims has common-sense ideas for getting started. The short middle section is about craft. Sims touches briefly on characterization, theme, and outlining. The final part is a mix of advice and exercises to keep the words flowing. I especially liked “How to Write Unboringly About Yourself,” with advice for bloggers and memoir writers and “Living with Your Book and Driving it to Completion,” about sticking with it through the year or more it takes to write a novel.
Taken all together, YOU’VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU is writer 101. It’s everything new writers need to know and none of what they don’t. Each chapter ends with action items, leading writers logically on to the next step.
Throughout, Sims lets new writers in on a secret: writing is fun. And it will say fun as long as you get out of your own way and let things flow. She compares writing to improv. The best things come when you say “Yes, and…” instead of “Yeah, but…” With Sims as their guide, beginners will be well on their way to a solid first draft.
rating: 4 stars
pie slices: 4 slices craft, 4 slices inspiration
This book is best for: beginning writers
I recommend this book