This particular how-to book on writing is sufficient for any female who aspires to chick-lit or women's publications, but this author takes a more relaxed approach to the process, starting with the obligatory fifteen minutes a day.
The chatty format of the book is user-friendly, the author appealing to her reader in this manner by design, including considerable anecdotal information, bordering on memoir. DeMarco-Barrett mentions the importance of rituals, writing workspace and the appropriate tools and the chapter-by-chapter reminders to ôset your timer."
Pen on Fire is "Writing Lite," and when viewed in that context, this book serves its purpose. If you grasp the concept of writing fifteen minutes a day, you may be looking for more detailed material regarding plot, dialogue, etc., with a more professional approach, with specific examples and writing exercises that teach the dynamics of writing. This is something each reader must decide.
My criteria: does this author inspire me to write, to make that commitment to the daily ritual that will yield the success I desire? If this book inspires you, you are on target and will find the impetus to begin; this book can certainly stimulate the reader to take the appropriate steps. If not, there are many others that offer similar advice, albeit in a different format. Imagine Professional Writing for Dummies orThe Idiot's Guide to Writing!
In any case, writing is an intensely personal journey. We all need help learning and refining the basics, but at some point we have to fly alone.
My one caveat: anyone can learn to write well, but not all of us are meant to be published. There is a significant difference between adequate writing skills and the unavoidable passion of the true writer, who must write. Given the appropriate skills, one must be willing to take risks; the need to write is something altogether different. Again a very personal decision.