Tom Sawyer knows about successful creative writing - and how to teach the subject, from UCLA to Writers University to the Maui Writers Conference.
Emmy and Edgar-nominated, Showrunner/Head Writer ofthe classic TV series, Murder, She Wrote, he authored the best-selling thrillers The Sixteenth Man, and No Place to Run. He is co-lyricist/co-author of JACK, the opera about JFK that has been performed to acclaim in the U.S. and Europe.
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Von Raiko Am hilfreichsten 30.05.2013
He knows that he knows what he is doing.
This book has some really helpful pointers from someone who knows and obviously loves what he is doing. I would be lieing if I said this book didn't help me overcome some obstacles in my writing because it gave me tools and pointers that I had not truly been aware of before.
However, while Thomas B. Sawyer tries very hard not to be, he *is* a little arrogant and it shows, which costs him one star in the rating. Possibly, he has some reason to be - he is a successful writer and a published author, but it can be pretty annoying. A short while into the book, it becomes very apparent that Sawyer is mostly a suspense writer for TV series, who thinks in scenes, dialogues and crimes and is firmly rooted in the real world and in script writing. Writers of high fantasy novels, fiction for children, simple fantasy or historical novels will find themselves dissatisfied with what Thomas B. Sawyer has to offer or even disagree with him. He does claim relevance to all fields of fiction, and for parts of his book that is true, but he knows too little about some genres to consider the differences in writing required for them. This would be fine, if he didn't completely ignore his own shortcomings in that respect. For example, by Sawyer's standards, George R. R. Martin (Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones) would have to be considered a mediocre writer at best.
For more real-world rooted stuff, suspense and crime, the author does indeed have a good recipe, and it will make you a good handiman for the job. Do take him seriously on characters, dialogues, scenes and conflict, but keep in mind that he merely offers a standard recipe with a nice set of variables and that - in the end - it is your willingness to ignore Mr. Sawyer occassionally and to go out there and explore that can turn your solid novel into something special. You need to have the confidence to know where you do and don't care for his guidelines, no matter how he presents them to you (mostly as a recipe that you can differ from, but mostly shouldn't because he knows how it's done).
However, I have yet to withdraw another star because I find the bashing of other people's work absolutely misplaced. Disguised as examples how *not* to do some things, Sawyer loses himself in his frustration with certain pieces of work, some inner workings of the movie industry and even entire forms of art that he just doesn't like or has no vein for. Something the author does not like is not, by definition, badly written or a bad idea. I found these rants needless and annoying.
((And for those who have listened to this already - I don't know about you, but I DO say "What the...?" in real life.))
Jeffrey Thibeault's reading suits the book very well. I liked his young-sounding voice, reading pace and intonations, though some of this pronounciations threw me off at times.