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Read Like a Writer

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I'm a student at heart. I take notes, I read closely, and I apply what I learn. I've decided that part of learning from other writers entails examining books I read and applying the terminology I've learned so far in my journey. That way, I can read good books and call it "work". It's a win-win, really. By the way, I stole that idea from the legendary Lucy V Hay.

So, after I devoured Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman in stolen moments between research, edits, and driving kids to clubs, I decided that the tool I needed was a proper book review template. This template's job is to help me think about the elements of the writing process I struggle with. It is not actually meant to be a comprehensive book review or anything like that—just signposts to guide me in analysing how the author made this story work.

So, for today, I'll share the template with you. Over the next few days, I want to delve into each template element, using Neverwhere as an example. So, if you haven't read it and don't want spoilers, you'll have to ignore these next few posts. But if you have, you're welcome to come along with me as I try to figure out how Neil Gaiman (in this instance) magics a story.


Here's the template. You can access a downloadable version of it here. Also, if you wanted to comment in the document, you can do that via the link.

Writers Book Review


Inciting Incident


Tests and allies

Mid-point Crisis

Main Climax

Third Act Twist




Goals at the beginning



Quirks/Rituals/Special effects

** Copy for other major characters **


Outer conflict

Inner conflict



Notable moments

What worked?

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