You don’t write good, you write well. Just as the title of this book is not grammatically incorrect, it’s whimsical. (Okay…that was a pathetic attempt at an inside joke.) The name of John Vorhaus’ How To Write Good, is pretty damn self-explanatory, so I’m not going to tell you that’s it a book about how to write well.
It’s always trickier for me to review a ‘How To’ kind of book. I generally look for decent plot and characters, which for obvious reasons, one cannot do in this kind sort of literature. One reviews guides like these by their ability to communicate the subject matter they’re talking about.
How To Write Good is a bit fifty-fifty for me. Maybe because I was expecting something different. I expected it to be about the intricacies of writing, like how to form plots and characters and different writing formulas. What I got was a lot more…practical. And on some strange level, the knowledge one receives from this book is more useful than thirty volumes worth of writing formula and complicated concepts and the weird stripes on a zebra or any of that other jazz.
It tells you one simple and effective thing. Just write, for god’s sake. Find a quiet place, dedicate a particular number of hours, squash those excuses, and write. Which is pretty sound advice, if you ask me.
It talks about things like ‘pivots’, and gives you simple exercises to help you write. It tells you how to get over writer’s block, and tells you to shut it and take criticism like it is: not praise or insults, but just critique.
In my opinion, it’s a handy little thing for a first-time writer, and even the seasoned wordsmiths should read it, just to get their head out of the clouds and remember why they’re writing.