I’ve probably read a dozen DIY books on writing this year and some of them have been truly exceptional, but Deeping Fiction isn’t one of them. It’s a textbook, a stogy, thick, and difficult to read textbook. I’m sure the class it’s intended for found it very informative, but the layout doesn’t work so well for self-paced reading.
Each chapter deals with a familiar subject in writing. For example, the chapter on Style and Dialogue contains subchapters on The Writer’s Style, Word Choice, Tone and Vision, Figurative Language, and Sentence and Paragraph Work. Each of those subtopics consists of an in-depth explanation of the term with some short examples and further discussion of the topic using those examples. Then, each chapter points to an included short story or excerpt (Part II of the book is all stories) and analyzes that piece of prose, highlighting the focus of the chapter.
There are exercises and discussions about the stories, topics, and revision exercises. I put the book down several times, too uninterested to continue, but I was determined to learn what they had to teach me. I found myself skimming the sample stories as their analysis covered them in detail. Eventually, I skipped them entirely.
Again, this book would probably work well in a classroom setting with assignments and teacher interaction, but reading it on my own made me want to find out who had recommended it to me and make them eat all 431 pages. Or at least not buy anymore of the books they recommended.
Part I contains lessons on such familiar subjects as dialogue, plot, and POV. Part II contains stories. Part III is a series of essays on how to deal with rejection, writer’s block, and schedules, all helpful information and I don’t understand why they’re not included in Part I. Since they didn’t include analysis and discussion, they were easier to read.
The bottom line is I didn’t learn anything new or helpful from this book. Their lesson on writer’s voice infers that the writer can change their style to fit the genre, but I haven’t found that to be true. There may be some nuggets of wisdom in this tome, but I could not wade through all the dry and authoritative information to find them.
A wasted effort in my opinion, but someone else might find it beneficial.