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Book review: <i>Writing Is Easy</i> by Gert Loveday

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the cover of the book

What maketh a writer? Critical acclamation? Sales? A drinking problem? A couple of dirty secrets? Breaking into the business is tough, but staying in it unscathed is even tougher.

The story

Could there be anything more idyllic than a writer's retreat? For Marcus Goddard, it's one of the perks of being a famous writer in the peak of his career. He and Lilian Bracegirdle, the stocky, serious, writer's writer, have selected five potential candidates to pay an obscene amount of money for their writerly advice and five days worth of Bacchanalian consumption. Marcus knows that once he arrives, he can burden Lilian with most of the actual workshops and focus on his latest novel, trying to recapture the glory of his first.

Lilian knows Marcus's tricks, but she has her own problems. Her assistant, Marjorie, is being particularly difficult. Lilian can't really survive without her, but the tension means she has to try. Marcus has problems with Lester, his assistant, but that's nothing new. This time, however, Lester is insufferable. Is something substantially worse afoot?

Meanwhile, each of the writing hopefuls have their own issues. Writer's block, the complete inability to be interesting, extreme derivation of themes, and general oddity abound around the restful boutique hotel. Has any of these average joes the ability to make in the industry? Will Lilian resolve her current issues with Marjorie? And has Marcus's dark past come back to collect?

The style

Writing Is Easy makes writing look just that: easy. The style is chatty and a little tongue-in-cheek, making it a breeze to read. It's engaging from the first chapter, the story moves with excellent pacing, and the various twists aren't too far out of left field but certainly keep the reader interested. It has a whodunit vibe, a couple of fiery deaths, and just enough mystery to classify this story into a couple of genres.

Each of the characters gets a turn at being narrated in limited third person perspective but certain characters (Marcus and Lilian for example) get more time devoted to them, as their characters are the most instrumental to the storyline. The tone of the story is well executed; each of the characters is just a little bit over the top but not enough to send the story into complete ridiculousness. It's hilarious, but not eye-rollingly so. It takes the mickey out of the industry, but allows for a level of seriousness and redeeming personal qualities in the characters. The story is not unforgivably jaded, which is the temptation when writing satire, so compliments to the authors for that.

Furthermore, it's set in Australia. The characters, the scenery, the humour and personality are all entrenched in the unique Australian tone, which is always a winner for me. There's something so refreshing about the Australian voice, and Gert Loveday's got it.

Who is this book for?

Prospective writers read at your own peril; you may see yourself and you may not like it. But at least you can laugh about it, and if you take yourselves too seriously this is not the industry for you. This book could satisfy a wide variety of readers, it's got mystery, suspense, death, anti-heroes, and of course, laughs. A fun holiday read. Probably. Who gets holidays any more?

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Hopefully Gert Loveday writes another one... Ladies?

In short

Title: Writing Is Easy
Author: Gert Loveday
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
ISBN: B00FIKWSZW
Year published: 2013
Pages: 255
Genre(s): Fiction, Humour
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