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Book Reviews
January, 2008

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Book Reviews - March
For only the best in how-to-write books
By  Jody Ellis-Knapp

une into IN reviews for the best of How-To books about writing — all genres — from high adventure to haiku, from fact to fiction, cookbooks to commentary and much, much more. Always check IN to see what's in. We only publish the best and our rating scale below is based upon the values of the three Es: Ease-of-Read, Educational, and Entertaining.

If you have a how-to write book that you would like us to read and possibly write a review about (we only publish reviews of books that we deem are best of the best) please send it to us. Our snail mail address is located in our 'About' area.

Title: The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide To Staying Out Of The Rejection Pile
Author: Noah Lukeman
Publisher: Fireside Publishing
ISBN: 0-684-85743-X 

IN Rating:

Review: The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman promises to teach writers how to “avoid common manuscript errors” and “take your writing to a higher level.” The advice seems to hold true throughout. With chapters covering issues such as presentation to publishers and agents, how to manage dialogue and make a manuscript more readable, and the tone of one’s writing, this book is packed with ideas that will surely assist any writer in making their work more marketable.
Providing exercises at the end of each chapter, the book encourages readers to step outside their comfort zone and try some different things when writing. This makes it an invaluable read, as it can bring out aspects of one’s writing abilities that perhaps they didn’t know they had. The chapters covering dialogue offer some exceptionally good information, as dialogue tends to be one of the more difficult areas to master. It also discusses how manuscripts that make it through a publisher or agents preliminary requirements, are scrutinized even more carefully, making those “first five pages” of one’s work even more important.
The First Five Pages will give both novice and experienced writers new insight into the discipline of writing. And ultimately, that is what the author wants to promote. Even though getting published is something to strive for, writing should be done for the sake of writing. 
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If you like this review, take a look at 'Our Members Library Of Recommended Reading' for books that have made a significant difference in our members' writing careers.

Title: The Elements Of Style - New Edition
: William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon and Strunk and White
ISBN: 0-205-31342-6
IN Rating:

Review: In his popular book On Writing, Stephen King comments that the one book every writer should own is The Elements OfStyle. Originally published in 1935, the newest version is full of the same valuable information and gives advice that transcends through the centuries.
The Elements Of Style gives concrete instruction on honing one’s writing skills to perfection. From the important advice “Omit needless words” to the other simple statement “Be clear,” this really is a book that every writer should keep on hand. Basic grammar is covered, examples of common errors, and overviews of how words should be used. Each chapter takes the reader through all aspects of writing, and gives insight into the proper usage of words, as well as the rules of that usage.
While it does relay things in somewhat of a textbook manner (it is unilaterally on in English/Writing readng lists) EOS provides excellent facts and can be referred to again and again. It might make you think you have stepped back into Composition 101, but it will also make writers stop and think about what they are writing, how it looks, and how it sounds. This makes The Elements Of Style a “must-have” for any writer’s book collection.

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If you like this review, take a look at 'Our Members Library Of Recommended Reading' for books that have made a significant difference in our members' writing careers.IN Icon   

Jody Ellis-Knapp is a freelance writer living in Alaska. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including Adoption Today, Balance and Alaska Women Speak. She is also a co-editor and writer at

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

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