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The Complete Writer: A Guide to Tapping Your Full Potential

The Complete Writer: A Guide to Tapping Your Full Potential

By Beverly Walton-Porter, Mindy Phillips Lawrence, Pat McGrath Avery and Joyce Faulkner

(Red Engine Press, 2005)


ISBN 0-9745652-6-1

Order this book at a great price from Amazon now.

Review by Patricia Fry

What a concept! Here’s a book from the viewpoint of not one, not two, but four writers/authors from four different states—each one coming into this project with different skills.

Joyce Faulkner says something interesting and thought-provoking in her introduction to this book. She says, "Perhaps the only truth about writing is that excellence and mediocrity are equally obvious to the reader. To writers, it can only be found in the beat of our own hearts and the scratching of our pens."

Because each of these authors comes from different sets of experiences, she says, "We offer the novice writer the richness of our diverse perspectives." And that they do.

"The Complete Writer" certainly addresses many issues and concerns of all writers from the mechanics of the business to such matters as the writer’s psyche and discipline. Faulkner even gives a lesson in Tai Chi.

Whether you want to know more about writing a press release, resume, article, novel or book review, you’ll find instructions, tips and techniques in this book. Are you suffering from writer’s block? Do you have a problem with time management? Do you need help with the process of researching? Are you rather timid when it comes to selling yourself and your skills? This book can help.

I particularly like these authors’ suggestion to network. They suggest joining writing/publishing organizations. And, guess what? They mention SPAWN as an important one to consider. (Thanks ladies.)

My only complaint about this book is—and you’ve heard (read) me rag on authors about this before—it doesn’t have an index. However, to compensate, the table of contents is complete and succinct.

I was a bit surprised to find some outdated printing methods in this book. They underline titles instead of using italics. They use single quotation marks where, perhaps, italics would have been better. They’ve also used underlining instead of bold type. And the em dash is not used according to current standards. This may have been the publisher’s choice. It doesn’t take away from the excellent writing. It just seems outdated and old fashioned.

While I found all of the chapters in this book interesting, well written and useful, some were outstanding. For example, Faulkner shares her techniques for researching for a novel. She has contributed two chapters on traveling for research. I love her suggestion to pack that all important candy bar.

Beverly Walton-Porter teaches writers how to launch an ezine—something I’ve wondered about myself.

If you write articles for magazines, you will be interested in Mindy Phillips Lawrence’s chapter on how to get sample magazines for nothing or next to nothing. Pat McGrath Avery gives a succinct lesson in self-publishing.

If you are ready to launch your writing career, you really ought to add this compact, yet meaty book to your home library. Whether you are interested in business writing, penning the next best-selling novel or writing for magazines, this book will definitely aid in your ultimate success.

–Patricia Fry is a full-time freelance writer and the author of 25 books. Read her latest book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book,

Visit her writing/publishing blog often at



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