#BookReview The Linchpin Writer: Crafting Your Novel’s Key Moments by John Matthew Fox

Title: The Linchpin Writer: Crafting Your Novel’s Key Moments by John Matthew Fox

Date Published: 26th October 2022

Genre: Non Fiction/Writing Advice


In every novel there are pivotal places that can make or break a book. Write them well, and you’ll have your readers begging for a sequel. Write them poorly, and your book will get scathing reviews and sell only a handful of copies. These pivotal places are “linchpin moments,” and in this book you’ll learn how to nail these moments.

Based on real advice from editing hundreds of novels, John Matthew Fox guides writers through the process of creating a novel that soars in the reader’s imagination. After reading this book, you’ll be a better storyteller, a better self-editor, and a better writer.

In this book you’ll learn how to:

Flood your readers with strong emotions

Create memorable beginnings and endings

Describe characters for the first time

Make readers swoon in romantic scenes

Kill off characters (without enraging your readers)

Harness the element of surprise.


I want to thank John Matthew Fox for my ARC copy of The Linchpin Writer. All opinions are my own. 

Lately I’ve read a good deal of writing advice books to hone my craft as a writer, so I was interested in what The Linchpin Writer had to offer.

The Linchpin Writer is part memoir, part writing advice with helpful literary examples and exercises scattered throughout to help you along the way. If I were to compare it to another novel, it would be On Writing by Stephen King except this has a lot clearer writing advice in it.

There is also a uniqueness to the novel. I’ve not read another novel that handles such a broad amount of subjects, from why you want to be a writer to writing your first paragraph and first dialogue, even to making time for your writing.

This book really challenged me, in a good way, about the way I’d been writing, in particular when it came to character description, which is my current nemesis. I would also very much recommend this book if you are in the editing stages of your novel, rather than doing a first draft, to help strengthen the story.

As I was reading, I found there was a bit of a literary angle to the book. As a lover of crime fiction, many of the fiction examples used I’d either never read or even heard of. Also, when discussing steamy/romantic scenes, the tone came across as kind of snobby, but of course, that’s just my opinion.

The Linchpin Writer is a book full of practical writing advice, interesting anecdotes and great if you’re looking for help to sharpen up your writing skills.

About The Author:

John Matthew Fox is the author of “I Will Shout Your Name,” (Press 53) and has won the Shenandoah Prize for Fiction, the Third Coast Fiction Contest, and won 2nd place in the Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award. He provides courses and editing for writers at Bookfox, which has received mentions from The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and The Huffington Post, and earned an MFA from the University of Southern California and an MA from New York University.


Author: Ljwrites85

Aspiring author. Mother. General procrastinator. Book Nerd.

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