Thanks, But This Isn't For Us:
A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected

by Jessica Page Morrell

Tarcher, 2009. ISBN 978-1-58542-721-5.
Reviewed by Barbara L. Heller
Posted on 09/23/2009

Nonfiction: Creative Life

Thanks But This Isn't For Us: A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected sets out to teach the basics to beginning writers. In this writing primer, Morrell uses her experience as a development editor, writing instructor, and book author to describe effective fiction writing. An additional chapter is devoted to writing memoirs. This book is also valuable to nonfiction writers.

Using relevant author quotes to preface each clever chapter title, the topic introductions is often followed by suggested writing exercises, "quick and dirty tips," and resources. Morrell believes, "Most writers begin with great story ideas, but often don't have a handle on some aspect of craft." The bulk of each chapter contains examples of well-crafted writing by published authors and "Deal Breakers." These "Deal Breakers" are poorly-crafted manuscripts that illustrate what not to write and submit.

I enjoyed both Morrell's content and her direct and witty style. But I was uncomfortable with her gender-biased language and choices. For example, in the section on types of conflict all were described as Man Against (...Man, Himself, Fate, etc.). Even with this caveat, I am passing along my copy to the local writers' critique group.

Morrell's statement, "If I sound like a badass on these pages, keep in mind that I'm a pussycat compared to the suits in the publishing world," underscores her focus on increasing the beginning writer's chance of getting published. By reading Thanks But This Isn't For Us: A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected the beginning writer might soon hear, "Thanks, this is just what we are looking for."

Jessica Page Morrell is a development editor, prolific author, and writing workshop instructor. Find out more about Morrell and her current activities on her website and blog.

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