My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I got this as the textbook for a novel writing class and have kept it ever since. It is detailed, specific, with examples of good and bad, as well as writing exercises to develop a writer’s craft. It was an optional purchase, but I bought it, read it and am glad I did.
It includes chapters on the process (do what works for you–I like that sort of freedom, where whatever I do is right as long as I do it), showing and telling, characterization, setting, atmosphere, POV, metaphors and similar (and allegory and symbolic choices), theme and revision. Lots of writing books don’t cover topics such as theme and simile. Janet Burroway’s book is over 400 pages and she uses each one wisely. I keep it as a reference for times when I’m stuck on metaphors or theme.
I’d recommend this book, especially to the beginning writer. It covers the important traits in enough detail that they’re usable rather than fixable. Burroway brings difficult concepts to life in a way that has stuck with my over the years.