“Few writing guides prove as thoughtful and intimate as Jill Dearman’s, and fewer still dare to be so insistently sensible and efficacious. Part anthology, part manual, part scourge, Bang the Keys distills the know-how of a gifted writer and teacher.”
-Robert Polito, Director of the New School Graduate Writing Program, author, Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson (Vintage), winner of the National Book Critics Award for Biography.
“A beloved Renaissance chick with wit and passion enough to warm a biodome, Dearman proselytizes to Struggling Writer Nation with utter pragmatism and inventiveness. Dare to resist her injunctions if you can — there’s no better battle plan for sentence-making anywhere on the horizon.”
-Michael Atkinson, film critic and author, Hemingway Deadlights (St. Martins).
“I sold my first book on a treatment and the first 50 pages. Shortly thereafter, I discovered that the first 50 pages are the easy part. It was awfully surprising to find that, for me, the big challenge in writing a novel is resistance. I have a busy New York City-type career (I’m a Forensic Pathologist) and then a second busy-ish career as a freelance writer (New York Times Magazine, New York, Gourmet, etc.), and finding the time to work on the novel was always ‘difficult’. Or so I let myself believe, as I coasted along, ignoring the looming deadline as I took care of more pressing and immediately gratifying obligations. Working with Jill not only forced me to focus on my book, but it proved the initial push — or series of pushes — that got me rolling on it, and not just rolling, but actually excited about my book. Jill’s mastered the art of being honest, but gentle. Working with Jill for a few seasons has given me enough momentum to finish the book independently. Jill has whipped my self-confidence into such a state that I’m sure I’ll finish strong. I’m plenty confident now, but heck, even Tiger Woods has a coach, right?”
-Jonathan Hayes, novelist, Precious Blood and A Hard Death (Harper Collins).
“This is a book about self-discipline, about finding your calling and learning to listen to that calling … so charming, so beguiling and laugh-out- loud funny you won’t even notice that you’re working your butt off . . . and getting it done! Jill Dearman is a national treasure.”
-Alison Smith author of Name All the Animals (Scribner), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Memoir.
“If you are as ambivalent about your prose as you are about everything else in your life, place it and yourself in the velvet-gloved iron fist of Jill Dearman. She will be your mother and your whore.”
-Donna Brodie, Executive Director of The Writers Room, New York City, An Urban Writers Colony
“If you are sick of hearing goody-goody writing experts preaching their New Age or Know-it-All gospel, then bang on Jill Dearman’s door, but quick. She seductively taps into writers’ natural desire to write, which is just as natural to us as drinking, complaining and procrastinating. Then, through skill, experience and intuition, she hypnotizes writers into falling in love with their writing, and wanting to write again, and again. And by the end of the Dearman trip, we’ve learned how to hypnotize ourselves.”
– Nisha Ganatra, Screenwriter and Director of the award-winning film, Chutney Popcorn; director of Cake.
“Bang the Keys overflows with contagious humor and energy. In fact, after a few pages you will likely throw it aside and run to bang your own keys! But my bet is that you will return to it and that it will stay on your shelf for reference.”
– Suzannah Lessard, author Architect of Desire (Dial Press), former staff writer, The New Yorker; teacher of Creative Writing at The New School, Goucher College and other universities.
“Ready to write your book? Jill Dearman is the savvy coach and good friend every writer needs. With warmth, tough-love, and humor she provides the inspiration, information, practical tips, exercises, advice, and motivation to get you started and to sustain your writing practice for a lifetime.”
-Deborah Landau, Director, Creative Writing Program, New York University and author of the poetry collection, Orchidelirium (winner of the Anhinga Prize for Poetry).
“Jill Dearman has the nurturing power of a Jewish mother (without the guilt) and uses it to help you believe that there is no more important task than for you to finish that writing project! If you’ve been procrastinating for years — and who hasn’t been? — then get your hands on this workshop-in-a-book. Her approach just works.”
– Beth Greenfield, memoir forthcoming from Random House, 2010.