Starting with a wink at his own dumb title and a case for whimsy as a writer’s best friend, veteran writer and writing instructor John Vorhaus offers us this latest glimpse inside his writing mind. Drawing on a quarter-century of experience in writing scripts and novels, and teaching and training writers worldwide, Vorhaus delivers a quick, expressive overview of the writing process, how to engage it, and how to beat its common pitfalls. With abundant concrete writing strategies and an empowering generosity of spirit, HOW TO WRITE GOOD joins JV’s classic COMIC TOOLBOX in providing what every writer needs: rules, tools, and a good, swift kick in the motivation.
John Vorhaus is now known to one and all as the man who brought Radar Hoverlander - con artist extraordinaire - to life in the "sunshine noir" mystery novel, THE CALIFORNIA ROLL, and its acclaimed sequel, THE ALBUQUERQUE TURKEY. His other novels include UNDER THE GUN and WORLD SERIES OF MURDER, the latter available exclusively through Kindle.John is also well known as the author of THE COMIC TOOLBOX: HOW TO BE FUNNY EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT. This seminal book on writing comedy for television and film is now in its fifth printing, and continues to be a definitive source of information and inspiration for writers from Santa Monica to Scandinavia. Its companion volume, CREATIVITY RULES, is similarly a crucial book for writers at any stage of development.Not content to rest on those laurels, Vorhaus is also the author of ten books on poker, including the KILLER POKER series and, with Annie Duke, the revolutionary DECIDE TO PLAY GREAT POKER. "As a poker player," confesses Vorhaus, "I'm a pretty good writer."An international consultant in television and film script development, Vorhaus has worked for television networks, film schools, production companies and film funding bodies in 32 countries on five continents. He recently worked in Moscow, running the writing staff of the Russian version of Married... with Children, and in Tel Aviv, consulting on the Israeli version of The Golden Girls. He also travels regularly to Nicaragua, where he builds social-action comedy/dramas to provide positive role modeling for the poor, young and disenfranchised of that embattled country. Vorhaus is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the Writers Guild of America. He has consulted to Walt Disney Feature Animation and taught at such institutions as Northwestern University, the American Film Institute and the Writers Program of the UCLA Extension. He tweets @TrueFactBarFact and secretly controls the world from johnvorhaus.com
The dedication of How to Write Good is "to everyone who has the itch," and its aim seems as much motivational as instructional, to get those who are writing wannabes to start, and encourage those who have tried and struggled, to try, try again. If there is an overriding theme, it is that the key to figuring out what works, not for other writers, but what works for you, is not being afraid to give an idea a try. Be whimsical. Heck, you can even try a grammatically questionable title.Vorhaus says "in writing, there are no wrong choices," and he's not afraid to make what seems like a wrong choice. For example, this snippet from early in the book:(Boy, here comes a convoluted sentence - get ready for it.) I figure you figure what I figure you figure because if I were you I would be figuring the exact same thing. (Told ya. Convoluted as hell.)Confused? I can't blame you, yet, this sentence worked for me. Vorhaus' books are always spiked with humor, and as the above shows, he's not afraid of poking fun at himself. In this section he's talking about reading the mind of the reader, specifically how they'll react, by evaluating how you react (this is also one of the keys to success in poker, one of Vorhaus' other areas of expertise).After reading How to Write Well, even the worst writer in the world should be encouraged to keep plugging away. As Vorhaus says, even that worst writer who is "spewing drivel onto the page every day," will eventually reach the point where it "will cease being drivel, or at least evolve into drivel of a finer sort." For some of us, drivel of a finer sort is a worthy goal, at least for now.