you're reading...
Business of Writing, Craft of Writing, Fiction, Pop Culture, Publishing

A Sneak Preview of This Summer’s Blockbuster How-To-Write Book

The big news in the publishing industry is that E.L. James, author of the best-selling Fifty Shades series of softcore porn books, will release Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess, a how-to book for writers, on May 1.

Although the contents of the book are still a secret, we here at The Saturday Morning Post have managed to get a sneak preview of a few sections of what promises to be an invaluable tool for people who have always wanted to write novels, but have never read one.

Never mind that James’s books have been panned by critics and writers alike as amateurish prose, and that the idea of someone who is essentially a fan fiction scribbler advising others on writing is an insult to the writing community. Writing, as the good folks at her publisher, Vintage, know, has nothing to do with years of study and work dedicated to producing works of depth and meaning—it’s about whatever we think will sell!

Here, according to our sources, is an excerpt from the book’s foreword:

Professional writing is easy, easy, easy! All you ned need is a computer and a few packs of gum. Sit down in front of the copmuter computer (don’t forget to turn it on!) and pop a stick or two into your mouth. Start chewing to get that brain working and right write away!

Oh, and it heps helps to be able to type!

And here’s a glimpse from the Glossary of Writing Terms:

Character: The people in your story. The more deviant the better!

Plot: I’ve heard this term, but I don’t really know what it means. You shouldn’t worry about it.

Foreshadowing: Something to get the reader ready for what’s coming next. Like when the character notices a jar of lubricant on the nightstand. (Thanks to that famous writer, Mr. Checkoff Chekkov Chekhov, for this one. I think he acted on the old Star Trek series too.)

Climax: Do I really need to explain this? Just know that there should be a lot of them in the book!

Resolution: Cleaning up after the climax.

And finally, from the Notes and Whatnot section:

Include a bunch of black blank pages at the end to make the book look bigger. You can tell the reader it’s so they can jot down notes for their own book, even though a real writer would already have some paper in the house… and a pen too!

There’s more, but the SMP staff doesn’t want to spoil the hours of fun wanna-be writers will have reading and learning from this important volume. And next week, for serious writers, we’ll have some tips on how to deal with depression and feelings of insignificance over the publishing industry’s devaluation of well-written novels.


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


20 thoughts on “A Sneak Preview of This Summer’s Blockbuster How-To-Write Book

  1. You are a jewel of a prince of a writer’s writer for coming up with this! I have never in my life read anything so utterly devoid of worth as the “Shades of Grey” series, but I did give it a fair shot, so that I could write a review on it for my blogsite. If I hadn’t wanted to speak from my own experience vis-a-vis reading the book, I could’ve saved myself the trouble and gone with the numerous panning criticisms people had already issued when I read it. But it does have one major virtue: when one isn’t wincing at some of the actions described and feeling like a masochist for subjecting oneself to such bad writing, one is having a regular howl of laughter, not only at some of the chronically misplaced modifiers, but at the staunch ridiculousness of the scenarios. I giggled my way through floods of words till I thought I couldn’t laugh anymore.

    Posted by shadowoperator | April 6, 2013, 2:14 PM
    • And I can’t help wondering how a big house like Vintage didn’t insist on correcting some of the faulty grammar before re-releasing the book to a larger audience. Maybe they knew that audience wouldn’t care.

      Posted by jpon | April 6, 2013, 5:12 PM
  2. This is an awesome blog. Thanks for the laughs this morning.

    Posted by Nadia Ibrashi | April 6, 2013, 2:23 PM
  3. Oh, Joe, this gave me a big belly chuckle.

    Recently I met another of these writers, a guy named Hugh Howey. He was a very nice guy. That’s all I have to say about him.

    Posted by girl in the hat | April 6, 2013, 2:41 PM
    • Glad you liked it. I had to look up this Hugh Howey fellow. Even his web site has bad grammar.

      Posted by jpon | April 6, 2013, 7:48 PM
  4. Nothing is better than a cuppa of Joe with Joe Ponepinto on Saturday morning. Btw, Joe, I blame the drug companies. If they would make a Viagra for women, perhaps the book industry could go back to publishing well-written novels because people would wear themselves out and only want to read a great book at night.

    Posted by Darrelyn Saloom | April 6, 2013, 3:00 PM
    • Anything for the cause. Viagra for all! How about blue ones for the men and pink ones for the women? (I’d hate to think what would happen if people mixed them up.)

      Posted by jpon | April 6, 2013, 7:50 PM
  5. Joe, this was some fine Saturday morning entertainment. Thank you for your sense of humor, and your smart take on how to write a blockbuster. Since I’ve already got some people in my story and there’s no need for a plot, I think I’ll spend the day watching the entire Twilight series on DVD.

    Posted by Teri | April 6, 2013, 3:54 PM
    • Oh. Sorry to hear that. Hope you make it through.

      Posted by jpon | April 6, 2013, 7:51 PM
      • Since my book will surely write itself — isn’t that how this works?? — I feel like watching reruns of Twilight can’t really hurt.

        Posted by Teri | April 8, 2013, 2:32 PM
  6. Thank you for this, Joe. In my little section of Florida, educated women’s book groups included Fifty Shades on their discussion lists this year. I shudder every time I hear of it. I did say educated, didn’t I?

    Posted by mysarahskitchen | April 6, 2013, 7:46 PM
    • My wife’s book club also read Fifty Shades. My wife liked it. When she was done, I burned it.

      Posted by jpon | April 6, 2013, 7:52 PM
      • Minor correction – my book club didn’t read the book. Unfortunately, reading the book was my choice, much to your dismay -:).

        Posted by daponepinto | April 6, 2013, 11:05 PM
  7. Funny stuff, and probably not far from what the real thing will have.

    Posted by Jon Zech | April 7, 2013, 2:37 PM
  8. Clever, Joe :-)

    Posted by mirieagosto | April 7, 2013, 11:41 PM
  9. Very clever post, Joe

    Posted by miriamagosto | April 7, 2013, 11:42 PM
  10. easy easy easy! oy gevalt gevalt gevalt.

    Posted by Stephanie Barbé Hammer | April 9, 2013, 5:38 PM
  11. Very Interesting Joe! Thank you for connecting @Twitter!

    Posted by Gavriel's Muse | April 10, 2013, 12:15 AM

Tahoma Literary Review Now Open for Submissions

TLR is officially open for submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. To find out more about this new (paying) literary journal, please visit us at Tahoma Literary Review.

Enter your email address to subscribe to Joe's blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,385 other followers

%d bloggers like this: