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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

From Charlie Jane Anders, the award-winning author of novels such as All the Birds in the Sky and The City in the Middle of the Night, this is one of the most practical guides to storytelling that you will ever hear.

The world is on fire.

So tell your story.

Things are scary right now. We’re all being swept along by a tidal wave of history, and it’s easy to feel helpless. But we’re not helpless: We have minds, and imaginations, and the ability to visualize other worlds and valiant struggles. And writing can be an act of resistance that reminds us that other futures and other ways of living are possible.

Full of memoir, personal anecdote, and insight about how to flourish during the present emergency, Never Say You Can’t Survive is the perfect manual for creativity in unprecedented times.

A Macmillan Audio production from Tordotcom

©2021 Charlie Jane Anders (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

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A must-have for any creative writer

I was super excited to find out that Charlie Jane Anders wrote a book about writing! And it was perfect timing for me to read it now, between struggling to be creative during what she refers to as “the present emergency” and the fact that I love the imagination and emotional depth of her sci-fi stories. For some time, I’ve been curious about her creative approach and about her as a person, so Never Say You Can’t Survive was a treat.

This book is an excellent resource for writers who want to put more of themselves into their art. One thing that surprised me was how applicable her advice is to all kinds of writing, even creative nonfiction centered on real events and people from the actual past. Charlie Jane is masterful at channeling emotional dynamics into her characters and prose, and she’s just as articulate about how other writers can do the same. For that reason alone, I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants their stories to connect with readers on an emotional level. And if you liked Anne LaMott's Bird by Bird, I think you'll love Never Say You Can't Survive.

The book’s introduction stands alone as its own essay (don’t skip it!) about how escaping into your imagination can be an important act of resistance, and the stories you create can inspire others to look at the world differently. I love this idea, which provides a foundation for the themes of creative permission and heartfelt encouragement that permeate all the sections of the book.

The essays in each of the five sections give a lot of insight into how Charlie Jane approaches creating characters, identifying which ideas to turn into stories, channeling your present emotions into your writing, how to work with the political angles that stories inevitably have, and using tricks from the writing toolbox to tell the story you want to tell.
Beyond the great craft advice, I so appreciated the sense of play that comes through when she talks about writing. From trying out lots of ideas like they’re first dates, to getting to be someone else for awhile when you connect with your characters, I loved how she demonstrated the senses of openness and acceptance you can wrap yourself in when you’re being creative.

While I did receive an ARC from Macmillan-Tor/Forge & Tordotcom (thank you!!), I used one of my Audible credits so I could listen in the car, and I liked the book enough to buy a hard copy to keep handy.

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