Saturday 22 February 2020



Five-time Edgar winner and MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block wrote a monthly column for Writers Digest Magazine for fourteen years. The Liar's Bible consists of previously uncollected columns, chosen to illuminate the often dimly-lit path of the writer of fiction.

Here's what one reviewer said on Goodreads:

"I am fascinated by the creative process and there are few excellent examples of this that I have found – there is Koestler’s The Act of Creation insightful in a general way– but I have found only two worth their salt about working creators – Trauffaut’s interviews with Hitchcock collected in Trauffaut/Hitchcock and Thomas Hoving’s two interviews with Andrew Wyeth – published as Autobiography and Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth – but reading Lawrence Block’s collected columns on writing from Writer’s Digest I have discovered outstanding examples of this somewhat mysterious creative process.

"Now I am anxious to read his other collected columns – Block of course writes so fluidly that, as one Stephen King fan commented, I would probably read his grocery list – but he also asks brilliant questions of himself and does a terrific job answering and commenting on these.
"This is a must read for anyone intrigued by writers, artists, the creative process or those eager to write whether already published or hoping to be soon."

Despite harboring absolutely no aspirations or inclinations to take up writing I was quite happy to listen to this audible edition of a collection of Lawrence Block columns previously published monthly in Writer's Digest.

Handy hints, writing tips and strategies for overcoming negativity and reinforcing positive thoughts towards achieving your very own writing goals. There's also some anecdotes about writing some of his books - the Scudder offering - Eight Million Ways to Die in particular.

What also struck me is the banished notion that anything that flows on the page and is easy to read must have been easy to write. Far from it. I mourned for discarded prose, manuscripts over 100 pages long abandoned because the story wasn't working in the author's mind.

What shines through is Block's dedication to his craft and his professionalism. And his willingness to share some of his lessons learned along the way with other aspiring writers.

An easy narration from Michael Bonner made the progress through this collection a pleasant journey.

4 from 5

Another of Lawrence Block's writer's guides was enjoyed recently - Spider, Spin Me a Web (1988)

Read - (listened to) January, 2020
Published - 2011
Page count - 294 (11 hrs 8 mins)
Source  - Audible download code received from author's assistant
Format - Audible


  1. He is, indeed, dedicated, Col, no doubt of that. And he has a lot of wisdom to share, so I'm glad that advice has been compiled. It sounds really useful! Oh, and about that discarded work? That's a real thing. I can't tell you how many words, pages, stories of mine ended up deleted...

    1. I didn't really appreciate the amount of effort that goes into work that ultimately doesn't make the grade. I think I'd lament it if it was me. Block views it as a positive - all a part of honing your craft and getting better.

  2. That does sound interesting, Col. It makes sense that writers have to work out their issues and often discard portions of their writing, but still it sounds like it would be hard to do.

    1. Tracy, yes I think it would be really hard to dispense with something that you've invested a lot of time and effort and thought into.