Offering “a book written by you that’s already published,” “Bosch” follows his own title page with a blank alternative one, then goes on to sketch out a fragmentary plotline filled with options to circle and dotted lines to fill in (guaranteeing that any library copy won’t stay unmarked for long).
The “story” involves two children, A____ and Z____, who are searching for vanished writer I.B. Anonymous. In fits and starts, the author provides generic arcs for noir, fantasy and gothic stories that all lead in the end to I.B. Anonymous’ reappearance to congratulate his supposedly unwitting collaborators. With frequent pauses for technical advice, dubbed “Pseudo-intelligence,” writerly “Pseudo-assignments,” and forms for creating villains and other characters—not to mention squabbles with a smart-mouthed rabbit typist, off-topic footnotes and distractions for procrastinators—the emphasis is on amusement rather than instruction. Sample jacket-flap word lists give readers a taste of self-marketing. Two features in the appendix—the “Parental Obituary Section” and notable first lines—bridge the gap between theory and practice. Ford supplies accusatory eyes on blank pages and like visual commentary.
Would-be wordsmiths will come away with a marginally useful toolkit and, if not “hack writing of the highest order” as promised, at least a finished practice piece. (writing tips, self-awards) (Nonfiction. 11-14)