Foreword Reviews

Swallowed by a Whale

How to Survive the Writing Life

Established writers and beginners will find practical advice for their crafts and careers in Swallowed by a Whale.

Half of this fresh, exciting book consists of essays, poems, and illustrations, between which are compilations of professional writers’ tips on being productive, getting past internal or external roadblocks, and getting published. Its diverse roster of contributors includes novelists and journalists whose tongue-in-cheek tips, like “never open with weather,” combine with tough love excuse eliminations: “plumbers don’t get plumber’s block.” The differences between their outlooks are as fascinating as their commonalities: one essay invokes Dorothy Parker (“Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat”); another rejects the same dictum. The book’s earnest expressions of commiseration and hope will bolster writers’ confidence. Anecdotes and humor enliven the proceedings, as when Herman Melville is shown considering titling his masterwork Ahab and Moby’s Excellent Adventure, or when characters in a quest novel predict their future based on a standard story structure.

A buffet of craft knowledge, Swallowed by a Whale forwards relatable, world-tested inspiration for writers of all ilks.

Reviewed by Peter Dabbene

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Load Next Review