(Book review) Finding Success with Your Dream Writing Projects

Reviewed by: Michelle Kinder, a freelance writer based in Greenwood, Indiana


Title: Finding Success with Your Dream Writing Projects

Author: Dennis E. Hensley with Diana Savage

Publication Date: February 2017

Format: Print book

Length: 248 pages


In this world there are theorists and there are practitioners, and Dr. Dennis E. Hensley definitely is a practitioner. This man goes to writers’ conferences nationwide as a keynote speaker and workshop instructor and preaches lessons on good grammar, punctuation, syntax, format, style, and organization. However, as a novelist, short story writer, magazine columnist, and nonfiction book author, he practices what he preaches. And readers of this latest textbook of his on writing get the benefit of his broad range of education (he holds a Ph.D. in English) and his vast achievements as a writer (63 published books and more than 3,500 published articles, interviews, short stories, and devotions).
For the past 15 years, Dr. Hensley has been a columnist in each issue of Advanced Christian Writer and later Christian Communicator. He also has maintained a weekly blog at www.dochensley.com that is followed by thousands of devoted fans.  This book is a compilation of those files and blogs, as organized by web master Diana Savage, into an omnibus of information about writing, editing, publishing, marketing, platform building, and networking. It is an absolute gold mine of data about how to enter the field of freelance writing and succeed at becoming a published author.  “Doc” Hensley is director of the professional writing major at Taylor University, a program he created in 1997. Since then he has used his teaching methods to train more than 1,200 college students, and each one has become a published writer.  Several are now editors at major publishing houses, members of leading literary agencies, or award-winning novelists, playwrights, or nonfiction book authors. Those same systems and techniques of writing and marketing that made them successful are explained in easy-to-follow lessons in this content-heavy book.

Anyone who as heard Doc Hensley speak at a writers’ conference knows he is wonderfully humorous while simultaneously being someone who provides pragmatic information. Well, his book comes off the same way.  It is down to earth, fast-paced, entertaining, insightful, and very readable.  Most of the lessons are applicable to writers of both fiction and nonfiction, for his tips on mastering dialogue, coming up with snappy titles, creating vivid settings, doing background research, and learning to proofread and copyedit final drafts are useful to all writers. Anyone wanting to start a writing career or anyone wanting to take quantum leaps forward in an established writing career will find this book to be the key that opens that door to success.



Rating (1 to 5)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Members of writing clubs, writing teachers, working journalists, hobby writers wanting to turn professional, bookstore owners, anyone who has ever had a dream of wanting to see his or her name in print.

Christian Impact

Unlike many writing textbooks that completely ignore the Christian market, this book gives lessons on writing devotions, testimonies, and Christian fiction, along with other standard venues such as sports writing, interviewing, covering hard news, comedy writing, biography writing, business reporting, developing a column, and book/movie/music reviewing.

Other Notes :

When covering such topics as time management for writers and financial management for writers, this book provides charts, graphs, and other helpful guidance materials.

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About Evangelical Church Library Association

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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