Wednesday 27 November 2019



The craft of writing is a lot like spinning a web: You take threads and weave them skillfully together, and only you know where this intricate network of twists and turns begin and how it will end. Now, with Lawrence Block's expert advice, you can learn this art of entrapping your reader in a maze of fascinating fiction. Spider, Spin Me a Web is the perfect companion volume to Block's previous book on writing, Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, which Sue Grafton noted "should be a permanent part of every writer's library".

As helpful and supportive as always, Block shares what he's learned over the course of writing over a hundred published books: techniques to help you write a solid piece of fiction, strategies for getting a reader (or editor) to read - and buy - your book, ideas for increasing your creativity, and developing an environment that will nourish you and your craft. Spider, Spin Me a Web is a complete guide to achieving your full potential as a writer.

Having no aspirations whatsoever to write fiction in any format or genre - I know my limitations, I wasn't too sure whether I would enjoy this offering. But I really did.

It probably worked better for me as an audio book than if I was reading the written page, that way the thoughts, opinions, musings, advice, experiences, anecdotes (you get the picture) came through as if I was having a conversation with the author, albeit a very one-sided one. I found myself listening to it more times than just the commute to work

It's based around a monthly column Mr Block wrote for Writer's Digest back in the 80s and while the world of publishing and pretty much everything else has changed radically since then, I guess the art of getting it down on the page hasn't.

There are frequent mentions of his then latest Matthew Scudder book - Eight Million Ways to Die - that have me longing for a re-read. Some of his earlier pulp work is mentioned, as is the first short story he ever sold to Manhunt magazine for $100. Hopefully more than 60 years after first putting pen to paper he has a few more stories left in him.

An enjoyable diversion from my usual reading, aided by a pleasant narration from Richard Neer.

4 from 5

Read - (listened to) November, 2019
Published - 1988
Page count - 243 pages (10 hours 5 minutes)
Source - Audible download code  received from one of the author's assistants
Format - Audible


  1. Oh, now this does sound interesting, Col. I'm always happy to learn from the way other writers do what they do. And I have a lot to learn from Lawrence Block! Might be something I could use as a resource as much as anything else!

    1. I'm sure there is plenty to be learned from Mr Block's experiences. Every writer is different, but the goal is shared.

  2. Years ago I had a copy of Telling Lies for Fun & Profit by Lawrence Block, which was a writing manual. I just read bits of it, but it was very readable, so I can imagine that this would be the same.

    1. Tracy, I was a little bit surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I'll read more from him in this vein I think.