Christianity Today 2020 Book of the Year Award, Culture and the Arts
Writing is not easy. But it can get better.
In this primer on nonfiction writing, Andrew Le Peau offers insights he has learned as a published author and an editor for over forty years, training, guiding, and cheering on hundreds of writers. Here are skills that writers can master—from finding strong openings and closings, to focusing on an audience, to creating a clear structure, to crafting a persuasive message.
With wide-ranging examples from fiction and nonfiction, Le Peau also demystifies aspects of art in writing such as creativity, tone, and metaphor. He considers strategies that can move writers toward fresher, more vital, and perhaps more beautiful expressions of the human condition.
One aspect of writing that rarely receives attention is who we are as writers and how writing itself changes us. Self-doubt, fear of criticism, downsides of success, questions of authority, and finding our voice are all a part of the exploration of our spirituality as writers found in these pages. Discover how the act of writing can affect our life in God.
Whether you're a veteran writer, an occasional practitioner, a publishing professional, or a student just starting to explore such skills, Le Peau's wit and wisdom can speed you on your way.
"Andy Le Peau's Write Better—witty, down-to-earth, and informed by a lifetime in publishing—combines a wealth of practical advice with a distinctively Christian perspective on the writer's craft. It will be useful to aspiring young writers just starting out and to seasoned academics who want to reach a larger audience."
"With decades of experience in the publishing industry, Andy Le Peau has written a comprehensive book filled with wisdom, engaging illustrations, and practical tips for both beginning and seasoned writers. But Write Better is more than a superb work about the craft of writing. This is a book that explores our spiritual formation as writers and calls us to steward the Word with integrity and precision, while providing tools to do so with excellence. What a gift!"
"An invaluable treasure-trove of wisdom, counsel, humor, and practical suggestions and tips—as one of the poorer writers on whom Andy Le Peau has honed his legendary skills, I only wish I had read this book before I started writing."
"I've read a lot of books—often if I'm honest—to avoid the act of writing. But Write Better isn't for avoidant writers. To take Le Peau's reliable, witty advice is to find ways to get started and keep going, all the while staying sober about the responsibility of turning words out into the world. Gratefully, it's not at all like pulling a rabbit out of a hat."
"In what Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline, has recently described as the new curse of our time, the 'age of distraction,' publishing professional Andy Le Peau has written the almost perfect book for Christian writers to help them overcome their own distractions and the distractions of their readers. He covers all of the creative writing topics, and he does it in a way that is compelling and accessible, wise and intelligent. This is now the important book on writing that every Christian writer (and many others) must own, both beginners and advanced professionals. Everyone can learn something from this amazingly well-constructed and well-written book—everyone."
"This book belongs on the reference shelf of every writer. It offers forty years' experience with words—giving readers the equivalent of multiple master's courses for the price of one volume. Le Peau invites, encourages, instructs, and inspires the writer who wants to develop the craft, communicate effectively, respect the reader, and provide a compelling reading experience. He includes great stories and examples from many writers, but through the whole we perceive his own true voice and the heart of one who has loved books and the complex, glorious process of creating them."
"Andrew T. Le Peau's Write Better is a gift to students and teachers of writing. Drawing upon his experience as an editor and author, Le Peau shares practical recommendations and specific strategies that will benefit all writers—novices and professionals alike. What is more, Le Peau doesn't simply tell us how to write more persuasively, creatively, and faithfully; he shows us. The book is chock-full of examples of effective prose, and Le Peau's own writing is clear, memorable, and rooted in his Christian convictions. This is a well-written book about writing well."
"An eye-opening look at how the writer's life and the Christian life can be one and the same, showing that the two realms enrich and challenge each other."
Part I: The Craft of Writing
1. Finding an Opening
2. Knowing Your Audience
3. Giving Structure
4. The Character of Persuasion
5. The Craft of Persuasion
6. Creating Dramatic Nonfiction
7. Cracking Our Writer’s Block
8. The Nuts, Bolts, Hammers, and Saws of Good Rewriting
9. We Remember Endings First
10. Titles That Work
Part II: The Art of Writing
11. Creativity, the Mysterious Muse
12. Breaking the Rules
13. The Key to Powerful Prose—Tone
14. For the Love of Metaphor
15. Less Is More
Part III: The Spirituality of Writing
16. Called to Write
17. The Quest for Voice
18. The Spirituality of Writing About Yourself
19. Spiritual Authority and Writing
20. The Courage to Create and Let Go
21. Stewards with a Message
Appendix A: Get Thee to a Platform
Appendix B: Editors and Agents Do Make Cowards of Us All
Appendix C: The Coauthor Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks
Appendix D: To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish
Appendix E: The Copyright’s the Thing
Online Resources from Andrew T. Le Peau