Review: Composition by Linda A. Lavid

Title: Composition

Author: Linda A. Lavid

Published by Aventine Press

Reviewed by Mark M. Owen, Ph.D.

Linda Lavid's Composition is a priceless gem of a book. In less than one hundred pages, it manages to cover the most important aspects of penning a great novel, and as a bonus it provides readers with detailed information to help them navigate the complex world of self-publishing. I actually read this book twice, just to make sure I'd properly digested the morsels of wisdom scattered throughout the text like chocolate chips embedded in an epicurean cookie.

The chapters in Lavid's self-help book should be run as a serial in Writer's Digest. They're incredibly succinct, explaining only the details readers need to know if they want to write a novel. I've read other writer's self-help books that explain in twenty windy pages what Lavid manages to do in a tight five. It's no small feat to be so concise. She explains scene, plot, and character development in a way only learned by experiential training. In other words the reader is not lectured, but rather invited into the den to listen to someone who's been there and done that.

There's even a solid index in the back for easy reference.

The only weak point in the book, and it was a small issue for me, is that many of the examples seem to come from a romance novel, where an emotional female-on-female encounter is used to illustrate a key writing concept. That type of dialog is not my personal cup of tea, but because the concepts are so easily understood, the attractiveness of the examples is secondary.

Make no mistake; this book is not just for women.

For any potential author who's in the market for a book to guide them through the nuances of writing and the minefield of self-publishing, Lavid's monograph is a great place to learn, review and refine the tools of the trade.


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