Thursday, July 21, 2016

Book Review: Paper Hearts, Volume 1 by Beth Revis

ISBN: 0990662659
Published: November 1st, 2015
Publisher: Scripturient Books
Received: Netgalley
Read from June 17th to July 19th, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Your enemy is the blank page. When it comes to writing, there's no wrong way to get words on paper. But it's not always easy to make the ink flow. Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice won't make writing any simpler, but it may help spark your imagination and get your hands back on the keyboard.
Practical Advice Meets Real Experience
With information that takes you from common mistakes in grammar to detailed charts on story structure, Paper Hearts describes:
How to Develop Character, Plot, and World
What Common Advice You Should Ignore
What Advice Actually Helps
How to Develop a Novel
The Basics of Grammar, Style, and Tone
Four Practical Methods of Charting Story Structure
How to Get Critiques and Revise Your Novel
How to Deal with Failure
And much more!


Writing advice books are one type of book that I always want to read. Between the books and the blogs I feel like I've heard every piece of writing advice at least once, yet I still want to absorb it all.

The one frustration I've always had is that both the writing books and the writing blogs I've read are never written by YA authors, yet that's the kind of writing I enjoy doing. While much of the advice is applicable whether you're writing adult or young adult fiction, I've always thought it would be nice to read something written from a YA perspective. This book is has that perspective, and as soon as I saw it on Netgalley, I was excited to dig into it.

Beth Revis is a familiar name to me. Funnily enough, I've been following her blog for years despite not yet having read any of her books. I've heard great things about them, and trust me when I say that they've been on my "to read" list for years. It just hasn't happened. However, she is one of the authors I believe I most need to read, which only made me more excited to read this book.

The book didn't disappoint. Admittedly, each of the chapters is short (something that I've taken to be Revis' style), and at times, I would have appreciated a topic being discussed in more depth. At the same time, that shortness allowed her to cover more ground in the book, and I appreciated that. I think just about anything about writing that you could want to know was covered in this book, and all of it was from a young adult writer's perspective. Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight were the most frequent sources of examples, and you can always win me over by discussing Harry Potter.

Was there much that I hadn't read before? No, but that didn't matter to me. Like I said, I like reading writing advice from different perspectives because I always think there's nuance to each writer's perspective that's helpful, even if the underlining advice has been said before. Plus, one thing I really loved, was that the book covered some topics that (while I had read about before), I had never seen in a book on writing, such as diversity, feminism, and fanfiction. Yes, there is a a section about fanfiction. This book knew how to win me over.

If you write young adult fiction and want a writing advice book geared towards YA, then check out Paper Hearts. Even if you write adult fiction I think you could appreciate much of the advice within this book, but many adult authors would probably scoff at the idea. That's why I'm thrilled to have a YA-focused book.

There are two other volumes of Paper Hearts, one about publishing and one about marketing. I'm hoping to get my hands on them too. Again, I've read a lot on both topics but not much of it was YA-focused. I'm sure those books will be great too.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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