Wrede on Writing (review)

January 17, 2014 writing 4


Patricia C. Wrede has been a stalwart of the sci-fi/fantasy world for decades, publishing dozens of books across multiple series, storming bestseller lists and corralling accolades from critics and fans alike. Now, with brilliant insight and a sparkling wit, Wrede shows beginning writers the ropes in Wrede on Writing.
Wrede tackles all issues for writers, from the basic how-to’s to the more advanced topics on character development and worldbuilding. In her conversational tone, she gives writers the tips and tricks her experience has brought. After Wrede on Writing, authors will have the knowledge to put their tools to better use. Thinking of starting a book? Trying to finish one? Wrede on Writing will guide you towards that superior draft to send to agents, to publishers, and to readers.
Before she became a successful full-time writer, Patricia C. Wrede worked in finance, and she also provides for authors an extensive look at how to manage the money-from royalties to determining the financial potential of your next project, Wrede provides authors with deep insight into the business of writing.
A brilliant guide from a literary stalwart, Wrede On Writing is the book everyone with a novel under their beds or inside their heads should read.


Patricia Wrede’s new book on writing offers practical, commonsense advice for fiction writers, all of it with the underlying mantra, “there is no One True Way.”  There are very few hard-and-fast rules here, but lots of sage advice, plenty of humor and delightful examples, a few friendly warnings, and several dollops of reassurance — much of it taken from her blog. 

Wrede tackles the nuts and bolts of writing fiction, from the need for good grammar, accurate spelling, and a paucity of typos in work you submit, to the usual suspects of plot, characterization, setting, point of view, and even pacing. She talks about the building blocks of sounds, words, sentences, and paragraphs; discusses structure, worldbuilding, transitions, flashbacks, and other challenges; talks about getting started, finding (or learning to find) ideas, and writer’s block; and suggests ways to build your writing skills.  There’s also an extensive section on the business side of writing, something too many writing guides neglect.  From query letters and submissions to finding an agent to managing your backlist and your long-term career and even working in collaboration, Wrede lets you know what you should be aware of. 

While not a substitute for specialized books on (for instance) the basic rules of English or specific suggestions for SF or fantasy worldbuilding, Wrede on Writing is one of the best general books on writing I’ve come across. It should be on every aspiring writer’s shelves. 

*   *   *

Rating: 5 stars 

Category: Nonfiction; writing guides 
Publisher: Diversion Books
Release date:  Dec. 3, 2013
Book source:  Review copy from the publisher

Links:      Goodreads       Amazon       Barnes & Noble       Kobo

About the author:
Patricia Collins Wrede was born in Chicago, Illinois and is the eldest of five children. She started writing in seventh grade. She attended Carleton College in Minnesota, where she majored in Biology and managed to avoid taking any English courses at all. She began work on her first novel, Shadow Magic, just after graduating from college in 1974. She finished it five years later and started her second book at once, having become permanently hooked on writing by this time.

Patricia received her M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1977. She worked for several years as a financial analyst and accountant, first with the Minnesota Hospital Association, then with B. Dalton Booksellers, and finally at the Dayton Hudson Corporation headquarters.

Patricia sold  her first novel to Ace Books in 1980; it was published in 1982.  In 1985, shortly before the publication of her fifth book, she left the world of the gainfully employed to try winging it on her own.  In addition to her 12 published books, Patricia blogs about writing at Wrede on Writing.

Her interests include sewing, embroidery, desultory attempts at gardening, chocolate, not mowing the lawn, High Tea, and, of course, reading.  She is a vegetarian, and currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her cats, Cazaril and Karma.    
     (bio adapted from Goodreads and website biographies)

Connect with the author:   Website      Blog     Goodreads  

4 Responses to “Wrede on Writing (review)”

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      And on other topics as well! I check in on her blog now and then; that’s actually what persuaded me to read this book, because I already knew she was good at writing about writing.