Book Review: Author-in-Progress

Author-in-Progress, a series of brief essays by the Writer Unboxed Community edited by Therese Walsh, paints a complete picture of the writer’s journey from the first stages of a baby novel to its graduation into the real world. The book covers a wide range of topics and features a variety of voices from professionals in the industry. I would describe Author-in-Progress with three words: Insightful, Encouraging, and Engaging. I appreciated this book for many reasons and significantly marked up my own copy (designating places I would find beneficial to reread every once in a while). It’s humorous and easy to read, and its short chapters make it easy to fit into a busy daily routine.

I discovered Author-in-Progress fairly recently and was first attracted to the book by its variety. Most craft books I’ve encountered focus on a single element (such as the first draft, publishing, characters, etc.), but this one spans all topics without feeling like a general survey of the writing process. It gave me a new perspective on things I’m familiar with (such as prepping and writing), encouragement for my current stage (of mostly editing and revising), and considerations for the next steps (sending it out to hopefully be published). A writer at any stage in the process, new or old, can benefit from this book, though I think it would especially be beneficial for novice writers to go through it step by step.

Author-in-Progress is also motivational, full of encouragement to persevere tempered with a dose of reality. The authors of each article are very honest about the current state of publishing, the amount of work it takes to complete a novel, and the inevitability of rejection. Right at the heart of the book, two sections of multiple chapters each are devoted to receiving feedback and continuously grow in writing craft—important elements of being a writer that are perhaps most neglected or, at best, skimmed over in other craft books. The book’s authors understand and emphasize the importance of the writing community and learning with every new project.

Full of wonderful insight, encouragement, relatable stories, and humor, Author-in-Progress is one of the best writing development books I’ve read. I highly recommend it to writers in any stage of their careers.