Review of Write Out Loud by Naomi D. Nakashima

Books on plotting. Books on mystery writing or character development. So many of the writing books in print are super specific. In a sense, Write Our Loud is much the same but its specificity isn’t in teaching a specific part of the craft of writing. Instead, Nakashima’s goal is to get the writer going with the momentum necessary to complete the project.

Because of this, Nakashima doesn’t begin with research or outlining. She begins with WHY. Why does your story matter? Why does it matter that you should take the time out of your busy life to tell this story, be it fiction or nonfiction? Why should YOU write?

As a writing coach, Nakashima had worked with a variety of writers. She knows what insecure beasties we can be. She’s also been on the wrong side of this – dealing with someone who laid guilt on her for wanting the time and energy to write. It was one thing to work as a ghost writer but her own stories? Forget about it. (I don’t think you need to ask how I feel about this.)

On and on she goes, discussing the many things that can stop a writer in their tracks. What if there’s another book out there that might be in competition with mine? What about plotting? Or pantsing? How much prewriting do I need to do? What about a title? Help! I don’t have a perfect title yet! Editing? Holy cow, my writing isn’t perfect.

Let’s just say that as a writer and a coach, Nakashima knows us and our anxious brains very well.

One of the things that I loved most about this book was the idea that the other books out there aren’t in competition with us. These are the books that will share a shelf with ours. These books are our book’s community.

She also has a section on the premise. First she explains what this is and why it matters. Then she shows how to develop a premise and how to use it to lead you into the rest of the story.

Another section that I found fascinating was how to develop your nonfiction characters, specifically the characters in your memoir. Characters? In a memoir? You bet! And Nakashima also explains how most memoir are divided into two parts, how these pulls the readers in and makes them want to keep reading.

Not a memoir writer? That’s okay, there are also detailed sections on how to develop a title and how to keep yourself writing all the way through that first draft.

When you buy Write Out Loud, you get more than the book itself. There is also a workbook and worksheets. Stop reading periodically and fill these out and it is like taking part in a workshop!

This book is definitely worth the money although, admittedly, I did not pay for it. I received a PDF for taking part in the blog tour. Come back on the 19th for a top notch guest post by Nakashima about why your story is a good idea. And visit other stops on the tour (see below) so that you can learn more about this useful writing tool.