Short Book Review: Confessions Of A Freelance Penmonkey – Chuck Wendig

Confessions Of A Freelance Penmonkey – Chuck Wendig

I recognize that writing a novel is hard. And I don’t give a lemur’s left foot. I don’t give a good goddamn. I don’t give two shits in a wicker basket. The best things in life are hard. Like hunting pterodactyls. Like getting married. Like climbing a mountain and building a ladder to the moon. Like raising children. Like raising robotic children. Like making a golem who will build a robot who will raise your robotic children.

Writing a novel is hard because it needs to be hard. It if were easy, every jackalope with chalk dust on his fingers would write an epic masterpiece on his cave wall.

– Confessions of a Penmonkey: Chuck Wendig

Confessions Of A Penmonkey – 4 out of 5 stars

An entertaining, metaphor-twisting, profanity-laden exploration of how to be a freelance writer – or penmonkey.

I love the word penmonkey.

Dance for me penmonkey, dance!

Ultimately this is a guide book on how to be a writer, the things one must think of, the issues you encounter when writing, an exploration of editing, and a discussion of the publishing industry as it is right now, all screamed into your face with the aggression of an orang-utan rubbing faeces in your hair for touching up its wife at the Halloween party.

Chuck strips away the magic, the muse, the myths, and leaves any want-to-be-writer naked and trembling in pool of their own disillusionment, tears and blood. This is hard, no-nonsense writing advice, and is not for the delicate flower who refuses to believe that writing is work.

Wendig’s fundamental proposition is that writing is not just an art, but a craft, like carpentry. This means you need to get your powertools out and work that dead tree until your table is built. Or your book written.

A longish advice book, it is essentially a series of rambling essays that Chuck originally posted on his blog ‘terribleminds‘. If you are unsure of whether this book is for you, I strongly recommend you trawl though his blog to get a feel for Wendig’s style. The short essay/blog post style make it convenient to read when time or attention is limited, waiting in a line, watching some dreary TV because your wife wants to watch it, or neglecting your children as they scream to be fed.

I bought this when I picked up five or six of his writing books in a bundle last year, and I went through them all, skimming them for the bits that resonated, but not really trying hard to absorb what he says. This year I hope to get through them all in a more studious fashion. Now, these books are all writing advice, and all by the same dude, so I’m certain there is repetition throughout these books, but I’m ok with that – I got a good price overall, and I’m a bit thick, so repetition helps me remember.

Tell me about the rabbits again George.

If you are thinking about writing, and don’t mind creative profanity, this is good advice wrapped up in an amusing bacon blanket.



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