3 out of 4 stars
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Darlene Franklin’s How to Write Smarter is a guide for writers who want to take their writing to a professional level and make a living with it. The author is a seasoned writer with years of experience publishing books and magazine articles, having over fifty unique titles under her belt. In this work, she distills all of her knowledge into simple steps anyone can follow.
The book is divided into thirty lessons and five units: basic skills, nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and writing project. Each unit tackles a specific area of writing to make the reader a well-rounded writer who can then choose their specialty. The lessons come with quizzes to consolidate your knowledge and assignments to polish your skills.
Though the book is general enough to apply to most writers, the author also provides specific advice for the Christian market since she has expertise in it. Those interested in this niche should find it very helpful, but those who aren’t can safely skip these sections. Overall, the book is suitable for people of any religious affiliation.
I enjoyed the author’s practical approach that focuses on deliberate practice on top of theoretical explanations. While one can read the book in a few days, those seriously interested in becoming better writers should devote at least a few weeks to it, completing the exercises along the way. By the end of the experience, you’ll end up with not only advanced skills but also some marketable work to publish.
Everything comes together in the final unit of the guide, where the reader is tasked to write a piece of nonfiction, fiction or poetry that can be published. This is a unique aspect that makes the title stand out among writing guides. The only minor downside is that the book has the reader write something before looking for a market, which could be seen as backward for some, especially beginners.
That said, the book needs another round of editing. There over ten instances of missing punctuation, misspelled words, and subject-verb disagreement. While the errors aren’t particularly egregious, they’re not something you’d like to see in a resource for writers. Moreover, there are x’s instead of page numbers whenever the book references its own pages ("Explanations on how to write an essay appear on page xxx").
Despite the lackluster editing, How to Write Smarter is a great book for writers, especially beginners. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who has an interest in becoming a professional writer. Even veterans could extract plenty lot of value out of this. Since the assignments take a significant amount of time and effort, I don’t recommend the book if you’re looking for a casual read. There are no profanities whatsoever, so the book can be enjoyed by everyone.
How to Write Smarter
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