‘How the Classics Wrote’ by Rostislav Semkiv

(book review)

‘How the Classics Wrote’ is a book written by Rostislav Semkiv, published by Pabulum in 2016.

The book contains short biographies of such famous authors as Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Milan Kundera, Umberto Eco and Mario Vegas Llosa. Also in the chapters devoted to a particular author, his advice is listed, and sometimes even successful stylistic devices for novice writers. The chapter includes an example from the author’s work, which explains the plot or stylistic decisions to which the writer turned.

‘How the Classics Wrote’ is a cognitive book with tips for beginners, but some statements contradict each other, so the reader must determine which of the famous writers to listen to. The best option, of course, is to determine first to find your genre of prose, and only then start reading a book, so as not to get lost in the whirlwind of opposing tips. It should also be understood that you do not need to thoughtlessly copy the stylistic path or build a plot according to the plan used by the classic writer.

The book helps to understand how to build a plot, as well, most notably when you need to start working on a new text — not as soon as the idea. Regarding the initial stages of plot formation, all authors have the same position — first you need to think about the idea, write it down, work it out in detail, and only then start writing. Also, a common feature in the work of each classic is that for them a detailed plot — almost half the success of a future book. Rostislav Semkiv, author of ‘How the Classics Wrote,’ also notes from chapter to chapter that the most critical stage in work on the book is, of course, a clear plan.

The plan helps any author to successfully build a story and not overload the reader with unnecessary or unnecessary information.

So, ‘How the Classics Wrote’ is a great book for beginners, which provides basic tips for writing a good, ideological, and most importantly – a grasping story. Some writers use a variety of techniques, paths, and plot branches that cannot, of course, be used blindly, but the book provides excellent background knowledge and provides a wealth of expert advice. This is a good opportunity to absorb the best from the experience of cult authors. I liked this book on 9/10.

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