How To Write a Novel in 20 Pies
Sweet and Savory Tips for the Writing Life
by Amy Wallen; Emil Wilson
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Pub Date 18 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 11 Oct 2022
As a novelist, memoirist, and associate director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute, Amy Wallen has a few things to say about the writing world, many of them irreverent and snarky. From her perspective as a teacher, mentor, and published author, her belief is that the way to survive the hard knocks of writing a book and trying to get published is to bust a gut working, laughing, and eating pie.
With chapters including "Oh Agent, Where Art Thou?", "Revising, Rewriting, and Reimagining," and "The Joy of Rejection," Wallen balances out the challenging stages of the writing process with both sweet and savory goodness, featuring recipes for chocolate pecan pie, salmon and portobello pie, and the recipe for the best cherry pie ever.
Throughout the book, Wallen demystifies the vagaries of the publishing business, providing delicious recipes that will keep your belly full even when you're staring at an empty page. Her writing advice is neatly paired with the brilliant illustrations of Emil Wilson, who shares her sharp wit, sardonic look at the demands of the writing life, and her mad love of pie. Combined, the stories, lessons, images, and recipes will provide encouragement and camaraderie for the novel-writing journey, from putting pen to page, to finding an agent, to celebrating publication—all with a piece of pie.
A Note From the Publisher
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Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 23 members
Thanks very much to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy of this unique gem of a book. I love genre mixing when it works, and boy oh boy does it work here. In thinking about what I would write for this review, I realized that this book itself is essentially a pie, with three ingredients:
1) useful and heartfelt craft-of-writing advice;
2) recipes for delicious-sounding pies; and
3) cute and humorous illustrations.
I've been reading lots of craft-of-writing books lately, and many are retreads of well-worn material. Not so, here. The author has plenty of novel (ha) suggestions for wannabe authors such as myself, several of which I plan to put into practice immediately, but the book is not just a checklist of things to do. The author takes us along on the journey to publishing her first novel (and, to a lesser extent, her memoir and this very book), sharing the things she learned along the way. The prose is easy to read, conversational, and friendly.
Re: pies, I am not a pie maker, but this book had me searching for leaf lard on Amazon, so I guess I may at least give it a try. The recipes sound delicious.
Re: the illustrations, I realized while reading this that I wish that all books had illustrations. In any event, this one does, and they're wonderfully charming. Some of them should be reproduced into prints so I can hang them in my office for further writing inspiration.
I will be recommending this book to all of my writer friends and ordering a hard copy ASAP.
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