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Reviewed by Dr. Jordan Alexander for Readers' Favorite
The Linchpin Writer: Crafting Your Novel's Key Moments by John Matthew Fox is required reading if you are an author, are thinking about being a fiction writer, or simply want to take your storytelling skills to the next level. The book is positioned around “linchpin moments” like the start or end of a chapter or a climax, opportunities when readers decide to keep reading or biff a book. “If you flub up these pivotal moments,” says Fox “there is no amount of literary resuscitation that can bring your book back to life.” Fox is no stranger to the book world. As an editor and author, he knows what makes good linchpin moments through his work with hundreds of authors, his voracious reading appetite, and his help to some fifteen million writers through his blog Bookfox which he began in 2006 (TheJohnFox.com). Readers will appreciate his personal stories and experiences that encourage your voice rather than taking a prescribed step-by-step approach to writing.
The Linchpin Writer provides readers with how-to advice, illustrating concepts with different genres and famous literary giants like Margaret Atwood and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Tackling topics from famous firsts, like what to do when you first introduce your character or when they say their first words to finding an ending or killing your characters, each section in the book takes the writer-reader on an emotional learning journey. I loved reading this book. It felt like Fox was my own trusted advisor using his “literary alchemy” to help me reveal the voice within. “What’s the moment when you became a writer?” His book will encourage you to work harder, be open to possibilities and raise your awareness to find a sense of wonder in everyday life.
His writing challenges at the end of each section will let you test what you are learning. Practice, after all, will make you a better writer. I wish I had read this guide before I wrote my first book. There is so much I would do differently, starting with the opening paragraph. I know I will be a better writer after learning how to nail linchpin moments. Every author in my community is getting a copy of this fabulous book for Christmas. If you want to write better fiction, buckle up. John Matthew Fox is your ticket to help your writing take off.