Tag Archives: Paul Garrett


This week’s Monday book comes courtesy of Paul Garrett

I once had the opportunity to observe the construction of a high-rise apartment as I drove by the site once a month. The first time I went by they had cleared the lot. The next month they had begun to dig a hole. The next month the hole got bigger, the next month bigger still. Finally, after several months a concrete column appeared. After that, the building went up rather quickly. I often use this anecdote as an analogy for my writing students to emphasize the importance of building a strong foundation for their work.

In her newly released (September, 2021)  book, Jennie Nash, the guru behind Author Accelerator, where they train people to coach aspiring authors, is also a strong proponent of laying the groundwork for one’s opus. That’s why she has produced her Blueprint for a Book: Build Your Novel from the Inside Out. With decades of coaching experience (She coached, among others, Lisa Cron on both her books.) She lays out a step-by step process to take the prospective author from the germ of an idea to a completed manuscript.

Blueprint for a Book is also the title of her Author Accelerator curriculum and could serve as a companion for her popular course, which is how I us it. (Full, disclosure I am a student of the course) or it could serve as a standalone guide. She avoids the jargon that many writing teachers use to show how smart they are; words like “premise,” “theme” “logline,” and “character arc” to make the material a little more accessible to the novice, but the experienced writer will find much to interest her as well.

Ms. Nash focuses on planning the novel and on the often overlooked but vitally important minutia of novel writing, whose neglect may be responsible for many of those unfinished and unpublished manuscripts languishing in drawers and on hard drives. Her best innovation is her “Inside Outline.” a way to marry the story and character arcs throughout the book for a more coherent narrative.

While the material seems tailor-made for the plotter, it may be confounding the pantser, who’s chomping at the bit to get it on paper. But the exercises can be helpful even after a rough draft is finished.

Whether just beginning your story, going into revision, or stuck in the middle, Blueprint for a Book can offer writers a helping hand.


Filed under book reviews, publishing, writing

The Monday Book: GRAIN BRAIN by David Perlmutter

grain brainGrain Brain

A review by Paul Garrett

It was only a few years ago that the word Alzheimer’s entered our vocabulary, and since then the disease has been blamed on everything from chem trails to aluminum cooking pots, but what if the devastating disease is linked to our diet? Dr. David Perlmutter posits this theory in the book Grain Brain (Little, Brown Spark, 2013, revised 2018).

Perlmutter is one of a growing minority who adhere to a theory I will call evolutionary eating. It goes something like this: Humans evolved over millions of years as hunters and gatherers, consuming a diet of high fat, moderate protein and occasional carbohydrates. It wasn’t until about 12,000 years ago we began consuming a diet high in carbs, mostly from grains. Up until then carbs were only available a few months of the year when the fruit and berries were available.  According to Dr. Perlmutter, we haven’t had time to evolve into beings that can metabolize a high carbohydrate diet.

Perlmutter believes that we function best on diets like the high fat, low carb Keto and its cousin the Paleo diet. He thinks the low fat, high carb regime that has been the darling of government nutritionists is killing us.

The book is heavy on citations and points to recent research from all over the world that shows the deleterious effects of sugar and gluten on the brain, as well as other parts of the body.

Perhaps one of the most controversial sections is the chapter that rips Statin drugs. According to Perlmutter there is no direct evidence that high cholesterol is tied to heart attacks but plenty of evidence showing that low cholesterol is directly related to brain disease.

The book has three parts. In the first Dr. Perlmutter lays out his case, Part Two lays out the case for proper diet and rest. The third part includes recipes and a four-week plan of action to combat the effects of sugar ang gluten, including a list of supplements including DHA and Coconut oil.

Is it possible that cutting out sugar and gluten is the key to a healthy brain? It is a controversial notion. But with the popularity of regimes like the Keto and Paleo diets we may soon have a body of evidence on which to draw.

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