A review of Inside Stories by Trish Nicholson, kindly written for Writer’s Block Author Services by Anne Coates.
Anne Coates is an editor and author who has published seven non-fiction books and two collections of short stories. She is currently working on a crime novel.
This is without doubt one of the best books I have come across about the creative process for both writers and readers. It is brimful of tips and I would recommend reading it chronologically and then keeping it for reference to dip into as and when circumstances dictate.
Trish Nicholson’s book is divided into seven chapters covering: Inspiration; Characters; Themes and Titles; Structures (and Plots); Voice Language and Dialogue; Critiquing and Editing and concluding with Maintaining Momentum.
In each chapter, Trish uses two of her own short stories to illustrate some of her points. Many of these have been shortlisted for prizes, and whether she is writing fiction or non-fiction the warmth of her narrative voice is there. Inside Stories is beautifully written – the epitome of what a good, well-written book should be.
Each chapter is like taking a master class in writing – or reading – fiction. Trish gets down to the real nitty gritty showing how a single sentence can be improved with judicious editing/rewriting. It’s a fascinating process for anyone relatively new to writing or readers who like to know what might have gone on behind the scenes of a book they are reading.
I once read of a prolific romantic novelist who had a photo Errol Flynn on her desk. He was the inspiration for her heroes. Trish has rather more eclectic taste for inspiration which she calls her writer’s toy box. Inside are three books, a wooden egg, a tiny woven basket with a lid, a picture of Gaudi’s workshop and a portrait of Beethoven. I won’t spoil the surprise by saying how these items get Trish’s creative juices flowing …
This book should be required reading on all creative writing courses and I would recommend it for reading groups as well: each chapter with the short stories would make excellent discussion points.
You can purchase Inside Stories by Trish Nicholson on Amazon Kindle.