Inside Stories for Writers and Readers By Trish Nicholson

A highly original treasure chest of insights to inspire and entertain readers as well as writers, Inside Stories is not another 'how-to' book - 'shows and shares' like a best friend. Each themed chapter explores a key aspect of writing and reading stories, including 15 of the author's short stories, analysed and critiqued as illustrations. An asset for writing or reading groups and for teaching as well as for personal inspiration. Fascinating, thought provoking, and written with her usual lucid prose and wit, this is a book for writers who appreciate stimulating company, and readers who love a good story and like to go behind the scenes where writers' and readers' 'voices' meet. And there is a whole chapter on the tricky topic of 'voice'. A book you will want to keep close at hand. ~~~ This printed edition includes Trish Nicholson's acclaimed essay "From Apes to Apps: how humans evolved as storytellers and why it matters.

 I've chosen to review this book for two reasons. One, I enjoy blogging and writing short stories but I have never attended a writer's group or a seminar on writing and I thought this book would give me some much needed help.
The second reason is, I have known Trish through twitter and her blog for a few years. I have read her travel books and I know what an amazing writer she is.

This book can be used in all sorts of ways. Read it straight through or dip in and out of it with the help of the contents page. I read it straight through but I know I'll have it beside me the next time I write.
Trish shares with us where she finds inspiration, she has what she calls her "toy box" and she tells us why each item gives her that little bit of guidance for her stories.
Trish Nicholson
There are fifteen short stories written by the author,some only a few paragraphs long but after we read them Trish analyses where her ideas came from and  what she was trying to convey to us. Many of her stories have won prizes or been shortlisted and she shares their critique with us,a very brave thing to do. Some of  the stories were so poignant I shed some tears, especially the story of Maisie and Georgie.
I have read so many "how to write" articles online and all they have done is scared me and make me feel I'm doing it all wrong. So many rules for writing stories and none of the joy. This book has changed that mindset for me, as the author herself says,
 This is a book of  "show and share" rather than "teach and tell."
Filled with tips and sensible advice some of the chapters are, Writing Character, Themes and Titles, Critiquing and Editing, Making Writing Competitions work for you.
Whether you are new at writing or could just do with a helping hand I think you'll find Trish's thirty years of writing experience useful.
I have the download version of this book but now that the paperback is out  it would be so handy to have on my desk to look through when I need help with writing.
I think you know by now that I loved this book and the way it is written makes me feel as if I am having a talk with the author and she is giving me her time and expertise one to one. You won't just read this book once and put it aside it will be used as often as your dictionary or thesaurus.

The paperback version also contains Trish's essay, From Apes to Apps: How humans evolved as storytellers and why it matters. As an anthropologist Trish is the ideal person to research this and tell us how and why.
The prologue begins with the words, "If Story could write her autobiography, it would go something like this:"
Twelve words that tease you and draw you into turning the page and wanting more.

If you enjoy reading or writing you know now what to ask Santa for this year.
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Trish Nicholson's two travel books which I have read and enjoyed so much.
Journey in Bhutan: Himalayan Trek in the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon.
Masks of the Mooryons: Easter Week in Mogpog.
You can find Trish blogging from her treehouse here
or tweet her  here


  1. Now I know I have to buy this book, Anne! I've been meaning to for ages, but I have another of Trish's books here on my laptop (her Bhutan travelogue) and I promised myself I'd read that before buying the next on. To my shame I haven't done so yet. I don't like reading off my laptop and it's not a Kindle version, so I'll have to sort that out soon. Oh dear…I'm rambling aren't I?…what I mean is that your review has really made me want this one now too. Maybe I won't wait!

  2. It really is a good book.I do think the paperback would be better to have around and use often. The Butan book is great,I felt as if I was with Trish on her journey.

  3. A fantastic review Anne of a fantastic book. I have my paperback copy right beside me now with lots of little post-it notes peeking out of it - all urging me to just get on and start writing again :-)

    1. Thank you Sue,it's urging me on too.

  4. What a great idea for a book. I might just treat myself to a copy. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Trish is a really good teacher,I've learned a lot by reading it.

    2. I have the feeling we can all learn from this one. Waiting for my copy now!


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