Lorraine Mace

Review of The Writer’s ABC Checklist

Review by Hasmita Chander, freelance writer and editor

When I started out, I didn't know how to become a published writer. I had no clue how to write a cover letter (I wrote a poem in one, begging the editor to use my story), how to 'study the market' or what an article really was. Luckily, in a few years, in which I blundered and learnt from my mistakes (that cover-letter-poem didn't bring about an acceptance), the Internet--and search engines--came into existence. After that I read everything possible on writing, subscribed to various newsletters, read and applied what the experts were saying, and my work got published.

But if I had had
The ABC Checklist for New Writers at the time, I think I could have achieved much more, much faster. It puts everything a new writer needs in one place.

Organised alphabetically, like a dictionary, this book covers all the important things that a good writer needs to know, especially, but not only, a writer who's just beginning in the field. The keywords cover a lot, from agents and illustrations to invoices and research. Relevant cross-references are listed under each heading as well. The entries are brief but adequate, and make for handy references.

The book is useful for those who want to write articles for magazines as well as fiction writers, scriptwriters or novelists-in-the-making. It's especially useful for the new writer who isn't yet sure what area to specialise in but wants to give her best shot in various areas, then see what she's good at and wants to focus on.

The authors mention the addresses of schools in the UK that offer writing courses and a list of prizes especially for new writers. Although the book targets writers in the UK, most of it is useful for a writer anywhere in the world.