Sunday, April 16, 2017

Shut Up & Write! by Judy Bridges

Shut Up & Write! is a guide for new writers by author and teacher Judy Bridges. It is one of the most straightforward and simple writing guides I’ve seen, which I like. As you go through it and read about the process and techniques described, you may feel she is describing the very process she use to write the book in your hands.

There are several other things to like about this book. I’ll mention a few here in no particular order except the last.

The book is broad; it covers the writing process from idea to publication. It remains a short book, though, and doesn’t get into excessive detail. I think it is enough to have a generally direction. As a beginning writer, you should be writing and making your work as good as you can; you can figure out the details you need as you go.

Bridges doesn’t elevate fiction writing over nonfiction. If someone writes histories, news articles, technical manuals or advertising copy, they are still writing. Many of the same skills and requirements apply to any type of writing.

I like Bridges’ suggestions for organizing or plotting a story. It is very simple and visual. It is also something that could work for a short piece or a long book. Good planning tools should help one write, not spend a lot of effort on planning.

Possibly the best thing about the Bridges’ advices is that she does not sugarcoat how hard it is to write a book—at least a good one. She tells her readers to put at least two years into a book. Admittedly, many of her students and the audience for this book will be aspiring or part-time writers with limited time, but writing a quality book is about more than time. This realistic expectation will help readers who hope to write a book get in the right mindset.

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in

Bridges, Judy. Shut Up & Write! Milwaukee, WI: Redbird Studio Press, 2011.