The Story Cure // actually helpful writing self-help book

I know I said I wouldn’t do another nonfiction book, but I’d entered a Goodreads giveaway for this and didn’t win, then saw this on Blogging for Books a few days after and thought, “Maybe fate is a thing.”

Also, as a writer, I felt obligated to give it a chance. It could prove itself a useful resource.

I’m always interested in ways to better hone my writing craft.

It’s nothing like Story Genius, thank God.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Story Cure: A Book Doctor's Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or MemoirThe Story Cure: A Book Doctor's Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir by Dinty W. Moore
Published by Ten Speed Press on 2 May, 2017
Genre: Non-fiction, Self-help, Writing
# pages: 181
Source: Publisher
Rating: ★★★★★

A collection of cures for writer's block, plotting and characterization issues, and other ailments writers face when completing a novel or memoir, prescribed by the director of creative writing at Ohio University.

People want to write the book they know is inside of them, but they run into stumbling blocks that trouble everyone from beginners to seasoned writers. Drawing on his years of teaching at both the university level and at writing workshops across the country, Professor Dinty W. Moore dons his book-doctor hat to present an authoritative guide to curing the issues that truly plague writers at all levels. His hard-hitting handbook provides inspiring solutions for diagnoses such as character anemia, flat plot, and silent voice, and is peppered with flashes of Moore's signature wit and unique take on the writing life.

Physician simulation/metaphor

The Book Doctor is, uh, in? Reading this, I was in the metaphorical waiting room with myself and whatever story I wished to tell. Some things could be answered without diagnosing, but if a diagnosis was required, “cures” were provided for it, too.

I quite enjoyed this simulation and how it was kept throughout the book; the structure of it works much better than being told about something and how to fix it. The diagnoses and treatments stay with me longer than a basic task list of what to do.

The “Invisible Magnetic River”

To paraphrase Moore, trying to tie a moral/theme into a book implies there is a lesson to be learned in the first place.

I like the idea of an Invisible Magnetic River instead:

  • Invisible, because thesis sentences are boring AF, and once you say something aloud, it loses meaning; because we have to experience things ourselves to learn the lessons; because in a book, we are supposed to show, not tell.
  • Magnetic, because it’s the glue that holds the overall story together; because everything happening in the story leans toward the magnet and depends on it.
  • River, because rivers start small and gain strength over distance; because rivers change speed and shape; because rivers are unpredictable; because there should be one flowing through the book.

Meat quality

There aren’t many pages to this — I’m always wary when books contain less than 200 pages, because I’m scared I’ll be given barely anything — but the writing here is not verbose; it’s to-the-point and no time is wasted.

I went in with a few questions and wound up nodding my head to much of the text, as well as having new questions.

The stuff in this book, methinks, is what anyone who writes anything should read. It’s not just for people writing a book, but could potentially help make blog posts more interesting. I noticed some similarities between the content within this book, and the lessons of screenwriting and what I notice in TV — character is story, for example.

The Story Cure reiterates what writers should know about writing.

I think this topic worked so well for Moore, because he doesn’t just work in the industry — he’s a teacher, so he understands what students most often need help with. He’s an educator who understands time is valuable and writers would rather be writing.

This book will definitely be one I keep on the shelf and refer back to, however. 😏👌😉

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Comments on this post

I have no problems with non-fiction reviews! I enjoy reading them but never know where to start since not a lot of bloggers talk about them. Also with how many bloggers also seem to be aspiring writers I think a book rec like this could really help. 🙂 The doctor/cure simulation sounds interesting and would definitely make it memorable compared to a lot of how to / self help books. Glad that it worked out well!