Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pep Talks, Warnings & Screeds: Indispensable Wisdom and Cautionary Advice for Writers” as Want to Read:
Pep Talks, Warnings & Screeds: Indispensable Wisdom and Cautionary Advice for Writers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pep Talks, Warnings & Screeds: Indispensable Wisdom and Cautionary Advice for Writers

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  93 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Toddlers--and drunks--bang around hitting walls, tables, chairs, the floor, and other people, trying to find their legs. Writing fiction is a similar process. Sometimes it might take a while before the story gets some balance and moves forward. Sometimes the story takes off as if motor-driven, then crashes into something not foreseen or expected. Learning to be a writer is ...more
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published October 22nd 2008 by Writer's Digest Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pep Talks, Warnings & Screeds, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Echo If I remember right, he basically said it would be more useful to actually spend the time writing than taking classes about writing. Experience trumps…moreIf I remember right, he basically said it would be more useful to actually spend the time writing than taking classes about writing. Experience trumps education, more or less?(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Lee Ann
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Singleton's first mistake was claiming that writing groups are a waste of time. His second was calling fanfiction writers "really bad writers." His third mistake was telling writers not to bother majoring in creative writing. His fourth mistake was making the snobby distinction between "literary" and "genre" fiction, as if genre fiction (or popular fiction in general) cannot be worthwhile. His fifth mistake was a really disgusting comment he made about prostitutes.

Basically, Singleton sounds pre
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: about-writing
I wish I would have read this book before I decided to become an Creative Writing Major in college.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Not a bad little book of advice for writing, and there were some helpful things inside. My favorite was a tip about finding an antique magazine from your period when you're writing historical fiction. It probably wouldn't help a great deal as far as research goes, but it's an interesting idea to just sort of help you get into the time period. I like it. I didn't agree with everything he had to say, but then ... when will I ever?

Some thoughts...

1) This dude loves short stories. Seriously. I get t
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stephen King once said most books about writing are bullshit. This is not one of those books. Pep Talks, Warnings & Screeds gives enlightening, practical writing advice told in Singleton's refreshing tongue in cheek way. It's honest, true, funny as hell, and quite possibly the farthest thing from bullshit. It's bullshit-proof. Bless you, George Singleton, for sharing your writerly wisdom and wit. God knows we need it.
this is a great book it has a lot of great advice and explains why and give specific examples along with illustrations
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Good Book on Writing is (Now) Easy to Find

I don't like books on writing--as a rule. I try not to read them anymore. It's not because I'm out of new things to learn, but because I know learning about writing seems to occur best when writing and when reading good literature--not when reading endless tomes about writing. However, George Singleton is THE evil genius of Southern letters. I am inclined to listen up when he speaks. A week or two ago, I saw a review of Pep Talks. About five minutes la
Carmen Sisson
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Years ago, I read an essay in Oxford American called "How to Write Stories, Lose Weight, Clean Up the Environment, and Make $1,000,000." It was light and cute; I smiled and went on with my life.

But every once in a while, I'd find myself staring at the ceiling, looking for just the right word. I'd check the mail. Then I'd check it again. I'd return to my keyboard, stare at the blinking insertion point and wonder why I torture myself with writing.

And then I'd think about that crazy essay by Geor
Ryk Stanton
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I almost always rate nonfiction books 3 out of 5 stars. Generally speaking, they are merely okay: they tell whatever they said that they were going to tell, or they offer whatever advice they said they were going to offer, and that’s about it.

Not so with this book – I don’t give five stars easily to anything, but this is one of the most helpful, interesting books about writing that I have ever read. My one complaint about the book is that I think it’s organized wrong: the Pep Talks section is by
Michael Wilson
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
Maybe I just need to get out of the review of writing books game. This one is nothing new really. A prolific writer of fiction who has taught at all levels of education tells us the wise things that he’s learned by both through his work and teaching of how to work to others.
It is loosely organized into three sections entitled Pep Talks, Warnings and Screeds. But the advice really doesn’t strictly fall into the category in which it is organized.

Each tidbit of advice is just a paragraph or two lo
Jo Kaiser
May 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
So, I didn't exactly finish this one. Let me explain. It's a fantastic read, it truly is, the advice written is beyond valuable and I can see myself applying it to my writing in the future, the pep-talks are inspiring and the how-to's are all lovely to read; this is, however, not a book to be read in one sitting but several, preferably over a month or so of continuous writing either for an event like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), or for the sake of finishing a first (or second, or th ...more
Jan 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Cute and playful but not to be used for instructional purposes. There's a lot of good advice in here and I think it would be helpful to read on my own, but using it as an aid for a class felt like cheating for me. Also, Singleton contradicts and repeats himself a lot. I feel like he was just spouting words to reach a page count or something. I was also told I didn't understand the humor in the book, so there's that. Sure it was clever at some points and that's cool. Just not my cup of tea but th ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
How can you seriously take the rantings of a so-called English professor (and writer!) when he consistently puts down "eminent" when clearly he means "imminent?" I saw this typo occur twice--and the first one was on the BLURB! Even if you have all the time in the world, don't waste it on this one.
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-books
I read a lot of writing craft books but this one was one of the funniest. Short paragraphs and clever illustrations make this a fun read. A perfect gift book for a writer friend who takes themselves too seriously. Or maybe this is yourself?
Jul 04, 2010 added it
I would be concerned ifa lot of the advice in these pages wasn't yet known to one wishing to write, but there is somethinsg reassuring about that. Kind of a confidence builder and the curmudgeon voice of the author makes everything that much more entertaining.
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just adorable. I love the way he writes with these short blurbs. You can't lose interest, because they're short enough for our little attention spans. Hilarious, too!! Every fiction writer should read this.
Sarah Key
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
George Singleton and I talk shit about the same kinds of people, and this is something I can appreciate. Pep Talks, Warnings & Screeds is a dangerously clever book and one that I will definitely be passing along to my fiction writers in the coming year.
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to
Even if you don't like books about writing, check out the section on writing in coffee shops (he's against it). It's hilarious.
Funny book--just what I needed to brighten my darker writing days. (And my kids enjoyed hearing about the Li family and Singleton's hilarious argument for not writing in cafes.)
Mar 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Standard advice, but with a wit that, ironically, is usually missing from these type of books. Plus, it has some cool illustrations.
rated it really liked it
Mar 06, 2012
Summer Sterling
rated it really liked it
Nov 16, 2017
Glenda Mcalpin
rated it liked it
May 29, 2018
rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Jan 23, 2014
rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2009
rated it really liked it
Jan 28, 2011
rated it really liked it
Jul 17, 2009
rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2018
Mara Eton
rated it really liked it
Mar 25, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »