Kissing the Demon

by Amrita Kumar

Read this in about 3 minutes

It wasn’t since ‘On writing’ by Stephen King that I read any book on the craft of writing. It is not just for writers but for reviewers too that it is important to understand what goes into writing a good book. A deep understanding of the craft also helps to form your opinion on how a book should be talked about rather that just giving them shallow stars at the end of a shallow review. It is the exact reason I picked up the book. Although it may not be very different from Stephen King’s ‘On writing’ this one should be read by all those who want to improve their writing.

Cover: Kissing the Demon

Cover page

The cover page is simple. Typology places an important role in the cover. Since the book is about writing the designers have refrained from using art on the cover, just the text makes it relevant to the content inside. The colour combination is thoughtful. It is a simple great cover. No complaints there.

Content

The author begins with describing her good old days of carrying around ‘High school English grammar and composition’ book by wren and Martin around. The book has been a bible for all the English language loyalists. Of course, in today’s era of internet, it is not a mandate but good English is a key to many otherwise closed doors.

The book is divided into chapters ‘The empty page’ where the author talks about how to begin writing. There is no better way to begin writing than just sit at one place and write. Just write. The words flow and that’s how a book is born. The chapter is divided into sub-chapters which talk about how other writers write and the environment.

From here on the actual writing and editing part begins when the author talks about ‘Narrative techniques structure and plot’. Here the narration, characterisation, dialogue, setting and end is spoken about. It covers all the aspects of the book which need fierce scrutiny. The author talks about the rules and then talks about books that have broken the rules and done so well, ultimately establishing that this is your book and you can write it however you want. That by itself is a great encouragement for any author.

Then comes the part of publishing and how to conduct yourself while in the process of sending your manuscript to publishers. The author also talks about the commandments to live by as an author. The and for further writing assignments.

Often towards the end of almost every chapter author is found saying that there is no hard and fast rule and the book is just a guiding book and not a rule book. There are several examples mentioned, taking excerpts from different books and examples of different authors.

This book also becomes an easy guideline for those who want to read and learn from quality books. All the books mentioned here possess a unique technique that can be used to develop the skill of writing. The author herself has authored books and understands the writing world. Her bits of advice are backed by being in the profession for years and that is made evident in this book.

Language

The language is simple. The narration is explanatory. Several examples are quoted at appropriate places to make the point which is great.

Good points

It is a nonfiction book but not boring. The cover page is refreshingly simple. The content is a guiding light for all those who want to be a good writer some day. The book is structured well too. The chapters are short and to the point. The narration is simple and easy to understand too.

Bad points

The chapters feel a little too stretched out towards the end.

Overall

The book is an excellent guide. It should be read and learned from. Definitely.

Whom do I recommend this to

This book is for writers and reviewers alike. Those who have already written their book can use this book in editing and publishing process.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com