The Literary Handyman
by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

published by Dark Quest, LLC
ISBN: 978-1-93705-100-6

4 bookmarks (out of 5)

The Literary Handyman is not a linear how-to-write book–it doesn’t take you from A to Z in ten easy steps. It’s more like a book full of classic recipes–open it to any page and get a single tasty delicacy, full of layered flavors and satisfying combinations.

The Literary Handyman is a collection of articles, some published before in at various diverse times and venues, each a thoughtful look at a single aspect of writing. From “The Naming of Names” through “Coming to Your Senses” and finally to “Promoting for the Beginner”, each essay takes a fresh look at the topic, giving insights in a light conversational tone that is comfortable to read. The book is divided into two main sections, the first on the craft of writing, the second covering aspects of the business of writing. Separating the two sections are some writing exercises to keep the reader on their toes!

One of the most intriguing articles is “Spend Your Words Wisely,” a very careful analysis of how changing just a few words can totally alter the meaning of a paragraph. The super value here is in the analysis of each variation, the why of the differences. It’s a clever exercise, and one I enjoyed immensely.

Overall, this is a valuable collection to add to your literary reference shelf and one I recommend. It’s a part of my library.