Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Book Review

Writing from Life: How to Turn Your Personal Experience into Profitable Prose by Lynne Hackles

Author: Lynne Hackles

Publisher: how to books

ISBN: 978-1-84528-241-7

Price: £8.99

Synopsis (as on the back cover of the book):

This book will show how your own personal experiences can provide you with an endless supply of ideas for your writing - whether fiction or non-fiction.

You will learn how to write about what you know - and you certainly know a lot. The good news is that the older you are, and the older you get, the more experiences you have had - so you'll always have something to write about.

The author, Lynne Hackles, will show you how to make your own 'Raking up your past' file - using memories, lists, diaries, newspapers, smells, family trees, etc. And how to turn your own anecdotes recounted to friends and family into useful prose; and how to fashion the passed-down history of your ancestors into a family saga.

With this book you'll also learn how to:
  • Sell a snippet of conversation;

  • Make money by sharing secrets;

  • Take your boss and your best friend and come up with a new character;

  • Sell one event in your life to several different markets;

  • Impart knowledge you didn't think you had to people who didn't know they needed it;

  • Use the emotions, traumas, joys and experiences of your own life to make your writing stronger and more saleable.
You will never run out of ideas; writers block will be a thing of the past.

About the Author:

The first words LYNNE HACKLES ever sold netted £2. Since then her motto `never let truth get in the way of entertainment' has helped turn hundreds of personal experiences into stories which have sold in the UK and abroad. She leads writing workshops and runs tutorials for a leading correspondence school. To find out more about Lynne see her website:


This book does exactly what it says on the cover. It is absolutely jammed packed with great ideas. So, even though `nothing much has happened to me', just reading the book has fired my imagination.

If you are thinking about taking a writing course, I suggest you buy this book first and work though it, whether you want to write for children or adults, feature articles to gothic horror, as it will show you how your own past can make your writing come alive.

Writing from Life demonstrates how to take all those things that you thought were fairly insignificant and make good use of them. Nothing goes to waste from noticing the colour of a leaf to baking a cake for you grandson. It talks you through how you can use personal experiences to put more emotion into your writing and provide vivid settings. There are examples and anecdotes not only from the author's life, but from a whole range of highly successful, professional writers, who talk about how they have used their personal experiences in their writing.

Each chapter contains exercises and tips that not only inspire you, but explain how YOU can make money from your writing by identifying the markets available to send your writing to.

This book is a `must have' for every writer's bookshelf.


Jon M said...

Off to purchase it as we speak...gothic horror eh? right up my street!

Anonymous said...

so what sort of earning opportunities does it suggest?

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

There are lots of ideas on how to use your own experiences and specialist subjects in your writing.

Some of the ideas are using them in readers letters in magazines, feature articles, short stories to longer novels and non-fiction books.

There are loads of ideas - one of the ones I particularly liked was: make a list of the problems you've encountered with your children and how you've tackled them. Use this info as the basis of a feature for a parenting magaizine. It seems so obvious but, I would never have thought of it.

What do you think?