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Lunch » Tags » Religion » Reviews » Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Writers » User review

Waiter there’s a pencil in my soup!

  • Feb 4, 2004
  • by
Pros: It’s great – especially after getting a rejection slip.

Cons: Some stories weren’t as good as others.

The Bottom Line: A fun and motivating book for writers and even nonwriters - I love it!

I was in the library one day, doing a term paper about Jack London my senior year, rooting around for books that I could use…at least I think it was Jack London.

Anyway, whatever it was I was looking for, the words “Chicken Soup” caught my eye and when I took a closer look I saw that it actually said “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul.” Whoa! Really? I had no idea they made that! I pulled it off the shelf, a lovely hardback, and checked it out along with the numerous other books I had.

Not long after, I bought my own copy and since then have had to glue the spine back into the cover because it’s been opened and closed so much. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it. There’s a bookmark permanently stuck in it these days. I don’t even know if the spot it’s at is really where I left off or not.

The book is a series of compiled stories from authors ranging from Ray Bradbury to Art Linkletter, brought together by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Bud Gardner. To be honest, I didn’t know who half of the authors were, but was excited when I saw Bradbury’s name and Lois Duncan too. Yay! I know them!

The book is like other Chicken Soup books – filled with stories to inspire and motivate, only this time it’s tailored just to writers. Inside the book is separated into different parts that deal with specific aspects. Also throughout the book there are small cartoon illustrations that writers can relate to. Like Snoopy on his typewriter. Hehe.

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1. How I Became A Writer Here are a few stories of how these well-known authors got their start. Some people were inspired by others, others just decided that this was their thing. Whatever the reason, they got started and here they are now. It’s a fun way to go back and think about how you got started. And if you don’t write, then it’s a neat insight on how some writers begin.
2. Living Your Dream This is almost like the middle of the writing process. These stories are various vignettes of happenings in writers’ lives. Whether it be acting like an actual navy seal or simply recalling what it was like to write for fun and not money, these are bits and pieces of writers’ lives that you probably will never know or see otherwise.
3. Defining Moments These are even more specific times in a writer’s life when something struck them powerfully in order to get them to do something or realize what they had been missing out on when it comes to writing.
4. Finding Your Voice It took me a while to find my voice. For a while I thought maybe if I wrote like R.L. Stine I’d be fine. Well here are other writers finding their voice with what they want to write, how they want to write it, and just what it was that got them that way.
5. Mentors This section is pretty self explanatory. It’s all about those who have helped give writers a gentle push in the right direction, whether it was indirectly or very directly. For some it was a family member, others it was an already well-known author. But they all have one thing in common – they helped these writers become what they are now.
6. Making A Difference These are various stories of writers’ works or someone else’s work making some kind of impact (or difference) in either the life of the writer, someone else, or a huge group of people. Some words and books can change lives and that’s what these stories are about. They help to show you that you can make a difference out there.
7. Overcoming Obstacles Felt like you lost your writing talent? It can happen – you just have to find it again. These are the trials and tribulations authors have faced. Sometimes it’s the death of a family member that affects their life. Whatever the problem, there is always a solution and here you will see how things were overcome.
8. A Writer’s Life These are like slice-of-life vignettes. They’re a lot of fun and range in subject matter (well, what happens in them at least) but they all have one thing in common. These are pieces from writers’ lives that just show you how some things work. One man writes about hockey – after actually playing hockey. Another woman mentions always being ready when your editor calls – he could call while you’re in the shower. You never know what is going to happen when you’re a writer.
9. The Power of Perseverance Keep on going. That’s the moral of the stories in here. Bad things happen, but sometimes even before then it takes time to get into a writing spot where the bad things happen. If you want to get somewhere you have to work at it – it’s not just going to fall in your lap. Been rejected 150 times? Don’t worry – so has Stephen King. It’s all a part of being a writer. It happens.
10. Insights and Lessons These stories are some of the best ones of inspiration. Some are heartfelt with obvious meanings in them (trust yourself, believe in those who love you, etc.) that can help a writer move along in life. And sometimes, you just have to learn How to be Madder than Captain Ahab.

Supporting Writers of the World A quick bit of info about the Maui Writer’s Conference which helps writer’s everywhere.
More Chicken Soup? Bit of info about Chicken Soup and how to get more.
Who is Jack Canfield?
Who is Mark Victor Hansen?
Who is Bud Gardener?
Info about all three authors who put this book together.
Contributors Info about the authors whose stories are in this book.
Permissions (continued)

I’ve read a few other reviews and some people put “doesn’t teach you how to write” under the con area. I hate to seem rude, but, um, duh. =P This book wasn’t meant to teach you how to write. Do the other books tell you how to be a dog lover or how to be a teenager? No, they just give inspirational stories that make you feel good – this is exactly the same thing.

Hungry? Why not give this Chicken Soup a try.



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review by . September 13, 2000
When I first saw this book in the bookstore, I thought a bit cynically, wow, those chicken soup folks have a book for everybody. Then I saw a review by one of the people on my favorite's list and thought hmm!. I picked it up that following weekend and have not regretted it one bit. I am enjoying this book so much. I read a chapter every few days so to stretch it out and savor it and make it last. The stories are both enlightening and encouraging. There are well-known writers and not so well-known …
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Nicole ()
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Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soulanthologizes 80 stories of heartwarming writerly success. As is the trademark of the Chicken Soup series, these are feel-good stories about unforgettable relatives, encouraging teachers, serendipitous encounters, memorable experiences, positive outlooks, and, yes, seemingly unbearable adversity. But even the most tragic stories here are written to inspire. In fact, the success of many of the contributors seems a direct result of their overwhelming misfortune: Christine Clifford parlayed her battle with breast cancer into a book of cancer-related cartoons (Not Now ... I'm Having a No Hair Day!). After his son, Nicholas, was shot by highway robbers in Italy and Nicholas's organs were donated to seven ailing Italian children, Reg Green chronicled the experience inThe Nicholas Effect. More than a decade after a professor squelched her pen by telling her that her writing "stinks," Catherine Lanigan rebounded and went on to writeRomancing the Stone). And Barbara Jeanne Fisher managed to writeStolen Moments, a romance, despite having five kids before embarking on a college degree, then being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and lupus.

Consuming the whole tureen's worth at once might be a bit much, but a spoonful here and there will help any struggling writer remember that they are part of a whole community of struggling writers. With contributions from Ernest J. Gaines, Terry McMillan, Sue Grafton, Steve Allen, George Plimpton, and Ray Bradbury. ...

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ISBN-10: 1558747699
ISBN-13: 978-1558747692
Author: Jack Canfield
Publisher: Health Communications

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