Given that I’m doing a lot of editorial work for Cornerstones at present I thought I’d re-run a review of Helen Corner and Lee Weatherly’s excellent ‘how to’ book, first aired on my old blog a couple of years ago.
If you’re hoping to write commercial fiction that is attractive to the trade and readers alike, and you need some help (and at the beginning who doesn’t?) a how-to guide written by the founder of one of the most well respected consultancies operating today – Cornerstones – is a good place to begin. This book won’t disappoint. Not merely good, it’s great.
Helen Corner and co-author Lee Weatherly take the novice writer through the various stages of the craft that is novel writing, from plot and scene structure to the nitty-gritty of writing blockbuster prose. Clear and concise, each chapter is sub-divided, broken down into bite-sized chunks of vital information with inspiring, erudite quotations from writers as luminous and varied as Philip Pullman and Jane Bidder. The layout is as clever and user friendly as the content with chapter headings appearing in the margins on every page for easy referencing and access to sections you may want to revisit. And believe me, you will want to revisit this book, again and again. ‘Try this’ exercises and tips also add value.
But the thing that I especially love about this guide is that it takes you from planning your novel all the way through to how to write a decent synopsis, the agent-author relationship and the reality of being published (only a miniscule percentage of authors make squillions). There’s even a further reading list and useful organisations detailed at the back. Always warm and supportive, Corner and Weatherly are also honest about the realities of this most competitive of industries. At 210 pages Write a Blockbuster is compact, but by golly it packs a punch well above its weight. For the aspiring author this is a priceless investment. Buy it here.