The Secret Miracle: The Novelist's Handbook

The Secret Miracle: The Novelist's Handbook - Daniel Alarcón Those who are looking for a prescriptive text will be disappointed. As the editor explains, "This book is not a how-to. No such book exists because it cannot be written."

That's actually one of the reasons that I so enjoyed this collection. No sooner had one writer said "Of course I write with an outline -- a very detailed one, in fact -- and I can't imagine ever writing without one" than another said "Outline, schmoutline: I can't imagine anything more stifling creatively".

It certainly emphasizes the precept that what works for one writer does not work for the next, that there is no "silver bullet" for crafting a novel. "They, like all of us, have good days, bad days, and days where it is more useful to sit quietly and read, to let the writing itself wait."

If you're simply casually curious about the writing process, you might find this format and the variation in responses either boring or confusing, but if you are sincerely interested in the writing life, or if you have a particular interest in one of the authors included herein, it's a terrific resource.