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Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction Paperback – September 8, 2001
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“FitzSimmons has come up with a doozy of a sociopath.” —The Washington Post Learn More
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
While I found it interesting to read about Highsmith looking back at the circumstances under which she wrote, I felt that Highsmith herself was not whole-heartedly interested, or confident about writing about her particular process of writing. It was mildly irritating that she apologised several times (usually at the beginning of a chapter) for having the audacity to presume to write about how to write. Fair enough: it is wise not to assume you speak for everyone or be totally pompous about it (like Sol Stein, ugh) but still, by the time a reader picks up a book like this, they really WANT to know how that particular author writes. I also felt that there was a fair amount of distance between the time she analysed her process, and the time she actually wrote her stories, so the book lacks the intricacy that one gets from reading a more immediate record.
However, there were some useful and interesting bits, especially Highsmith's opinions on thickening the plot, and the use of coincidence. It would help very much to have read her work widely as she quotes from some of them and uses the Glass Cell as a case study.
It's great fun to read this legendary author's thoughts. After all, Highsmith has written some of the best novels of suspense; The Two Faces Of January, The Blunderer and, of course, The Talented Mr Ripley series. In this book, she collects her thoughts on the genre and on the process of writing. And she tells us quite bluntly that what worked for her as an author might not work for us. But I think that any author (or fan) could and will learn a thing or two from this author's lessons.
The best parts are when Highsmith takes her own books apart to show her readers that not even the established writer is safe from the typical mistakes most writers will make at one time or another. And if there is one thing that you'll come away with from reading this book is that writers (pros and beginners alike) have to learn to practice and practice and practice some more. Practice, according to Highsmith, does make better. And that is one lesson I will not forget.
ALthough I am not a professional writer of fiction, I found the advice in this book interesting and helpful because it was suplemented with real life examples. Highsmith fills this book with examples of what she did right and what she did wrong throughout her career. She explains the general--and fairly sensible--principles that guide her writing as well as the little details that can enhance or ruin a novel. If I were an aspiring author, I think I would derive useful and interesting information from this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Is a masterpiece with a poor edition, bad quality paper and not good printing.Published 3 months ago by Jorge
Quite a lot of words but some statements are helpful about writing. More of a memoir by the author, interesting in places.Published 7 months ago by austinannie
A collection of Brief-summaries-of-Patricia-Highsmith's-stories; not very informative.Published 12 months ago by Josh
This review will focus on the actual print quality of the book, which is terrible. The back cover copy is almost blurry and the interior printing doesn't look very professional. Read morePublished 20 months ago by ScaryHornedFrog
Patricia Highsmith has written a thin, complete book on writing suspense fiction. It's a book to read over and over. Mystery novelists love this book. Read morePublished on March 25, 2014 by Fish mama
Patricia Highsmith articulates so many aspects of writing that are not easy to explain. She presents a playful, plain spoken way of solving them and I found it to be an honest... Read morePublished on March 18, 2014 by Viridian Scott
My only sorrow when I finished this book was that Ms. Highsmith has passed on, and I can't thank her for it. Read morePublished on January 6, 2014 by J.A.M.
While this book does provide a few interesting pointers and facts I have not yet found elsewhere, for it's price and the prominence of the late author I expected more.Published on April 6, 2013 by Kindle Customer