In writing, the only real rule is that there are no rules. The successful writer is a problem-solver, recognizing that each project presents its own challenges demanding specific solutions. In No Rule That Isn’t a Dare, working writers – from bestselling authors to midlisters – share the thinking behind the tactics that helped their work come alive for readers. While these tactics are far from rules, they do serve as examples to stimulate the strategic imaginations of all writers.
Bill Mesce, Jr. is a writer and college instructor living in New Jersey. His most recent work includes the WW II novel A Cold and Distant Place, and the nonfiction book, Inside the Rise of HBO: A Personal History of the Company That Transformed Television and Idols, Icons, and Illusions: The Movies We Love – and Love to Hate – and the People Who Made Them.
Bill Mesce has made you, the reader, beneficiary of his commentaries on writing and conversations with writers, as they reveal the processes of their craft. Each writer here becomes for you—as for me—a kind of mentor, under Mesce’s direction, exposing many ways the work gets done. Mesce’s selection of writers goes beyond the usual celebrities, and offers enough variety, wit, eccentricity, and intelligence for any writer to find insights in abundance.
—Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters & author of The Narrow Gate: Writing, Art & Values.
Bill Mesce meticulously follows the adage, “Show, Don’t Tell,” in this fascinating collection—essays on various types of fiction and nonfiction intermingled with interviews. He discusses a great story or interviews a successful author… and you learn. Therein lies the brilliance of this book!
—Supriya Bhatnagar, Director of Publications, AWP; author of and then there were three… a memoir
William Mesce’s No Rule That Isn’t a Dare: How Writers Connect with Readers is an eclectic collection of essays, reviews, interviews, film criticisms, and sidebar anecdotes analyzing a variety of techniques professional wordsmiths use to sustain their craft. Mesce’s biographical introductions and personal revelations take us inside the workaday world of those who have more or less succeeded in what is one of the most difficult careers any man or woman could choose. Absorbing and down to earth, educational and palpably useful, Mesce has written a book that every toiling writer will find reassuring, illuminating and invaluable.
—Duff Brenna, Managing Editor, Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts