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The Story Cure: A Book Doctor's Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A collection of cures for writer's block, plotting and characterization issues, and other ailments writers face when completing a novel or memoir, prescribed by the director of creative writing at Ohio University.
People want to write the book they know is inside of them, but they run into stumbling blocks that trouble everyone from beginners to seasoned writers. Drawin
Paperback, 181 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Ten Speed Press
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Pamela  (Here to Read Books and Chew Gum)
This was a tough one to rate, as I can't say that any of the advice in the book was poor. Dinty W. Moore clearly knows a lot about writing, and I'd love to take one of his classes, but unfortunately the way the whole book was set up simply didn't give the information the weight it deserved. How To Write books are a dime a dozen these days. They're everywhere and of varying quality. To set yourself apart, you really need to try and do something different. The Story Cure certainly tries to do that ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I am (in theory) the perfect person to read this book. I have been working on a memoir/novel for...wait for it...forty years. Yup. And I haven't finished.

Oh how I want a story cure.

I'm still waiting.

I love Dinty W. Moore. He's a marvelous writer and (I bet) he's a marvelous teacher. But this book didn't do it for me. For whatever reason. It's filled with oodles and oodles of diagnoses ("You just can't find the opening sentence," for example) and cures, but I couldn't use the cure because I coul
Marian Beaman
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have-read
Dinty W. Moore The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir

Book Doctor Dinty Moore, though not an M.D, uses medical lingo to provide diagnoses and cures for writers’ ailments of all sorts. In a 173-page volume with a subtitle A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir, the author explains how to get to the heart of your story – and return to it when you’re stuck.

Prize-winning author and writing coach, Moore affirms that your well-writte
Hannah Brown
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was an interesting book on writing. As a creative writing student, and having read many books on the craft in my time, I would like to think I'm fairly knowledgeable.

One thing that I found really fresh was the whole "book doctor" thing. It was a really new and interesting... but the downside is, that it did seem childish. I was unsure about who the author intended to write the book before; sometimes, it seemed to be intending to adults, and other times, it was too simplistic.

I'll do other
Susan Barton

I’ve often said that everyone has a story to tell. Most people dream about writing their book, but many of them soon find the process to be much more difficult than they’d ever imagine. The Story Cure is described as “a collection of cures for writer's block, plotting and characterization issues, and other ailments writers face when completing a novel or memoir, prescribed by the director of creative writing at Ohio University.” Written by well-known author and director of the MA and PhD in Crea
Amanda Tero
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
There were good elements to this book. I copied down over a dozen "quotes to remember." But when I think of the book as a whole, it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. First of all, I can't say that this book was Christian at all. It definitely wasn't conservative. There were both mentions about gods and them being created "to explain thunder, floods, births, deaths, the inexplicable movements of the sun" as well as a reference to "Christian myths." Add to that, there was a bit of "mild cussin ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comp_cw_teaching
In THE STORY CURE, Dinty W. Moore offers a lovely, helpful craft book with a fresh, supportive tone. Each section has a gem to offer (and more)--an exercise, a quote, a frame. It's never overwhelming, and it will be super useful if you are s t u c k to help you get u n s t u c k. It's an accessible read: not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Xo ...more
Rosemary Rey
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
As an Indie writer, I'm always seeking information on the craft of writing. I was intrigued by the premise of a "Book Doctor," A title/role I learned about on TV show--where publishers hire ghostwriters to mend a broken book or incomplete manuscript. I went into reading this book with hopes that I would find new and innovative ways to approach the act of writing. I will say that there were some things that I have taken away from this book. I think this is a good resource for writers starting out ...more
Kristin Boldon
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, new, own, writing, re-read
A great, concise guide to getting through to the end that even so focuses on craft and creativity. Just a really good book on writing a book. Great exercises and examples.
Wendy Bunnell
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm just getting around to review a couple of books that I'd read recently. I'm reading faster than I can review them. But, I knew I didn't need to hurry to review this book (even though I'd already returned it to the library), as I wasn't afraid to forget the book because I took notes. Yes, that's right, I typed up notes while I was reading this book. I've actually attached the best sections of my notes below, in case you're looking for the condensed version, but this book is worth reading.

Eustacia Tan
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Since I've been too tired to write or revise my stories recently, I decided to use the little free time I have to continue learning more about writing. I saw this book on Netgalley and thought it sounded interesting.

The Story Cure has two main sections: Cures (problems that occur when you're writing your first draft) and Checkups (revision and other things). Cures is the longer section and it covers topics like: getting to the heart of the story (I liked this the best because it was the most ori
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dinty Moore writes his book in a very conversational tone, which is something I really admire. It is like sitting down and having a talk with the author. I have talked to the author myself on a drive from the airport to a conference last fall. His writing is very similar to his speaking. I really admire Mr. Moore a lot. I love how the book is formatted into a description of different writing problems, diagnoses, and then cures in the form of exercises. There is a lot of hearty advice written wit ...more
Dana Kamstra
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reviews
I really enjoy books on writing. Writing is just one of those things that is not as solitary as many might think. It takes people to encourage you and it takes others to teach you. It is a craft that you can never fully master but rather always grow from. For this reason, when I have chances to pick up writing books I do. I want to keep learning and grow.

The Story Cure stands out to me as unique. It is not a book that takes you through start to finish of writing a novel. Nor does it focus in on
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I join others who have worked on the memoirs for years who read this book for help. Because it is written for both the novelist and the memoist, it does not do all. BUT! It does give inspirational hints on how I could flesh out my narrative type story into something that my adult children might actually read and enjoy. The story doctor tells me I need to give details and make the reader see and feel what I thought, felt, and found in the scenes of my time and places in a way that would be a stor ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of books about writing books recently and, I can definitely say that The Story Cure is one of the more useful ones. It's written with wit and humor which makes it fun to read, rather than a chore. The chapters, which range from focusing on issues such as character and dialogue to plot and structure, each contain useful exercises. I especially like the focus on trying to keep a magnetic river running throughout a story to keep the reader involved. I think the author has a knack of ...more
Alisha Webster
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I am trying to polish up my first novel now as well as start the second in the series for NaNoWriMo. I thought this would be a handy read, or even give me a few tips I haven't read before. This is the first time I've read this author. Would I read him again? maybe. It wasn't bad. I actually feel like I learned quite a bit. Though, I would be shocked if he could go into deeper detail than he did in this book. Each of his points felt over explained in my opinion. The quotes help me put my thoughts ...more
I read every writing craft book my library has available, and each one has at least a little something I take from it. I’m editing a book I wrote right now, and this book’s suggestion that the very end should thematically match the beginning was kind of a lightbulb for me. It wouldn’t be difficult for me to make that happen, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what is wrong with the very end of my book. Now I have ideas for fixing it. I also liked the idea of locating the emotional undercurren ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
First, I think this book had some great advice to offer the average person writing a book. If you are looking to do edits and re-writes he gives some very simple advice. Second, I thought he very helpful tips that I can use daily in writing. I think the doctor metaphor to writing was an interesting one that I never heard of and it gave a unique perspective, but it was a bit rundant. I also felt that although he touched on memoirs including some experiences that happened in his own life, it did n ...more
Via Bella
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read the full review here:

When you are writing a book and get stuck, it's good to get a little bit of help, even if it means going back to the basics a little bit.

In a day in age where it's easy to slip into the many things we want to do or say in a book, it's nice to read something that takes it back to the basics.

This book has been helpful to re-guide me in my own writing on some level. Because it is a matter of bringing to a point or two rather than t
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The problem with books on writing is that there are so many of them and there's only so much you can read about the subject before it starts to feel boring. If this had been one of the first books I'd read on the craft, I would have loved it. Unfortunately, it's not the first one I've read. I've read many. And while this one is unique in the format (each chapter is set up as a symptom-diagnosis-cure kind of thing), the writing tips themselves are nothing new. So, like I said, if you've not read ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Much of the same advice found in other how-to writing guides: show don't tell; catch people's interest from the start; just write even if you don't have the perfect words--you can always revise later; listen to people talk and write your dialog based on what you hear, cadence and all; figure out what your main character wants more than anything else and keep that in mind throughout; remember the classic story arc and stick to it; etc. Good use of passages from literary greats (Dickens, Austin, H ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was exactly what I needed to read right now, as I refine my nonfiction manuscript and jot down ideas for a new one. I love that each chapter ends with exercises. I already started to work through some and they have been so useful.

The book is geared toward anyone writing either fiction or nonfiction, and it works. I found it useful as a nonfiction writer and I can see where novelists also could see themselves in the book.

I most appreciated Moore’s consistent “pep talk” throughout the book
Mary Kenyon
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dinty Moore’s advice in The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir is right on target. In this collection of cures for writer’s block, plotting and characterization issues, and other ailments writers face when completing a novel or memoir, Moore, the director of creative writing at Ohio University, has detailed answers with examples of good writing from other author’s books.

Whether you write fiction or memoir, you need to be able to tell a story, and this b
C.M. Lind
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This short book delivers what it promises: it will help you figure out what is wrong with your story so you can finish your project. It's absolutely perfect for when you're stuck asking, "Oh, crap. What happens next? What am I even doing?"

Dinty does this all with an engaging voice, the right amount of humor, and welcomed brevity. There are a lot of fundamentals in the book, so you might find yourself jumping around, but the return to basics is a good way to help you figure out just what you're o
Erica Lyn Burden
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A gentle, friendly troubleshooter book for writing. If you've taken creative writing courses in college, most of the advice will be familiar. It's still worth taking a look at, though, if you are stuck and struggling to get words onto a page.

I recommend buying a copy versus borrowing, as you can use it like a reference book for what you run up against in creative writing. It works well in all genres, including non-fiction and memoirs, and that's actually a rarity in the world of writing books.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
The Story Cure is a reference book that teaches writers how to write better books. While I enjoyed parts of this book, some of the tips and main themes, I also didn't love this one. Maybe that's just me though, I don't love reading books about how to write.. part of me would rather just write. But it was well written. I give it 3.5/5 stars.

Full review on my blog:

Huge thank you to Blogging for Books for sending me this book in exchange for an honest revi
Heather Myers
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book

I really liked this book but I felt it had a lot of different topics and a little explanation of what those topics were. There were good examples but not enough explanation as to why this resembled whatever piece of Story he was discussing. However, I really appreciated the how to fix sections at the end of each chapter, which isn’t something I see a lot in craft books. Would definitely recommend!
JAnn Bowers
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was definitely written for writers with the flames need to spark every inch inside a writer, It holds valuable information on how to become the writer you always wanted to be but also holds secrets to drive that passion in you to big up the pen & write.

I received this book through NetGalley for a honest review.
Christina Rause
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Funny, insightful, and still a clear and concise guide to writing and editing with just the right balance of prompts, advice, motivation, and anecdotes. I rarely get through a guide like this so quickly but this one read more like a fun novel than a strict guide so it was a breeze to read, quite enjoyable, and at the same time very useful.
Tina Layner
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this, there was so much good information and descriptions on how to get through you novel as well as how to start the book. I would recommend this to any writers that are just getting started.

I was sent this book from in exchange for an honest review.
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Dinty W. Moore is author of the award-winning memoir Between Panic & Desire, the writing guides The Story Cure and Crafting the Personal Essay, and many other books. He has published essays and stories in The Georgia Review, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. He is founding editor of Brevity, the journal of flash nonfictio ...more

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