When I first read of the book online, I thought it was another of the typical how to guide books. The kind that goes straight to the point. One question that always finds its way in a writing related conversation is the how to question. How do I write? I Know what I want to say but I do not know how to write it.
My mind rushed off to the Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr, a book that the author references in his work as a guide of going about the writing business and all its details. William’s book comes off as a general book that does not address a beginner’s writing interests directly. Here, Paul labours to paint a picture of the entire writing process. This is key especially in a market where people want to see immediate returns on their book investments.
People write books for different reasons. Some want to tell a certain story while others want another stream of income. In either way, it is important to pay maximum attention to what you are putting on the market. Some books stay long in the reader’s mind while others, they have to be reminded that they read them that is, if indeed they did. When one writes a book for the monetary bit of it, it is such a heartbreak when they do not get the returns as they quickly expected. Why? It is simply because books create their own demand. A good book paves its own path.
Publishing being a free world for all, some authors and publishers underscore the importance of given stages that ought to be followed. As a result, you have a number of half-baked books hitting the market. It is such books that have validated the argument that Ugandan books are not well written. That is what the author of this book is advocating for; better writing.
The writing process should not be influenced by the fact that one has the will to pay for their work to be published or that they have good story. There should be a substance, an identity, value for which the reader should get in exchange of reading a given text. Good books do not have to be shoved down people’s throats to have them bought.
The author should be willing to pay handsomely for handsome work to be produced. Paying peanuts to the editors and expecting a good book in return does not hold up. Invest the money and time not one of the two and you will be grateful for the outcome.
In trying to talk about the entire writing process, the author misses (or intentionally leaves out) key details that could be of significant help to both the writer and the editor. How I wish the author could come up with an advanced style guide for editors and proof readers in particular.
The middle part of the book could, in itself, make a book of its own. It handles the primary tenets of writing not only for a book but writing in general. Subjects like language, theme and characterization bring out the details of any writing assignment better.
By the time one is done reading the 122 pages of this guide, one realizes how biased opinionated facts on writing are. Every book should be treated as an independent entity with a distinction that makes it stand out.
This book is so timely. It comes when there are so many people with writing ambitions but without a guide on where to begin. Now, here is one.
This review is written by David Kangye. Get a copy from ttpafrica.com.