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Writing to the Point: A Complete Guide to Selling Fiction 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1886211001
ISBN-10: 1886211000
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Algis Budrys's career has spanned 50 years as a writer, editor, publisher, literary agent and teacher. His work continues to expand and enrich the worlds of science fiction and fantasy literature. His novels have been nominated for both Hugo and Nebula awards while his students have produced numerous bestselling and award-willing novels.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Action Publishing LLC; 1 edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886211000
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886211001
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,065,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This must be the best book on writing that I've read. I remember clearly the first time I encountered it. I bought it one day on impulse, when I was down after having a story rejected. I gave the first couple of sentences a quick look, and I was hooked. This book has such insight, it changed my whole perception of fiction. What Budrys does, is teach you not how to become a writer, but how to become a *storyteller*. You will find in this book no talk of dialogue, or tenses, or sentence structure, only of creating a good *story*. Algis Budrys is a great writer, and he's an amazing teacher of writing. Right after I bought this book, I sold my first story. I sold two more the following month. Algis, thank you!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is to short story writing what Strunk and White's THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE is to writing, in general, and grammar, in particular. You'll not soon find another book that speaks to this subject with such clarity and forthrightness. It breaks through the clichés of formulating the story problem and a story's construct (beginning, middle, and end) in a way that is easily understood. This book is *more* than worth its price, and well worth the wait.

EDIT (19 Aug 2009): It's been several years since I wrote this review, and I've read the book several times. I'm currently reading the book again, and I felt that this review needed updating.

I still give the book 5-stars. HOWEVER,...

The appendix entitled "Ideas... How They Work and How to Fix Them" is, in my opinion, the most annoying part of the book. It is over-intellectualized into near meaninglessness. A couple of short excerpts will suffice:

"Exactly what happens immediately beyond Gate C is something so complex that we have had to found the entire science of psychology in a thus far only partially successful effort to understand it. But observation indicates that many organisms have been educated to process all data at this point only into storage bins with lawful values. This is 'sinful,' that is not; this is 'good,' that is 'bad'; this is 'allowed,' that is not; etc. A few organisms, however, appear to move data into a different set of processing gates, and the sign over that establishment reads Conditionally Valid. In other words, artists have a Gate Da and, in addition--blush to admit it--Gate Db."

...and...

"Different prescriptions suggest themselves for different causes of Gate X failure.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This must be the best book on writing that I've read. I remember clearly the first time I encountered it. I bought it one day on impulse, when I was down after having a story rejected. I gave the first couple of sentences a quick look, and I was hooked. This book has such insight, it changed my whole perception of fiction. What Budrys does, is teach you not how to become a writer, but how to become a *storyteller*. You will find in this book no talk of dialogue, or tenses, or sentence structure, only of creating a good *story*. Algis Budrys is a great writer, and he's an amazing teacher of writing. Right after I bought this book, I sold my first story. I sold two more the following month. Algis, thank you!
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By Rob Cornell on September 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
There is simply no other guide that cuts through the jargon and gets to the point like this one does. Budrys, one of the greats in the writing/editing/teaching arena of speculative fiction, gives you what you *need* to tell a compelling story and leaves the rest where it belongs--fermenting in the jargon barrels of the critics. And don't let his focus on speculative fiction dissuade you. Though I started writing in the speculative genre, I now write mostly crime fiction, but the tenants in Budrys' book apply the same to all genres. *Writing to the Point* is about storytelling...period. Get this guide. Read it. Read it again. Memorize it. And write...and write...and write...
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By A Customer on May 2, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Budrys claims to have the secret to writing fiction that will sell. His secret is very useful but short enough to include here:
Beginning: Must consist of introducing a character, in a particular context, with a problem. And if there are important yet unique/unusual aspects of the character that will be revealed later in the story they must be foreshadowed in the beginning.
Middle: Must involve the character attempting to solve the problem and encountering unexpected failure. During this attempt he begins to learn more about the problem and himself. The character must undergo stress which causes hitherto concealed facets of him to be revealed-that must fit in. The character must try to overcome the problem a total of 3 times on a rising scale of effort, commitment, and depth of knowledge of the problem and one's self. At the last possible moment, with maximum effort and staking everything, he achieves victory. This must be done by wagering everything in a do-or-die situation. Conversely the villain, coming closer to his goal experiences defeat snatched from the jaws of victory-because of some flaw in character.
End: Validation and foreclosure by someone who has no other vested interest in the story. They step forward and say "He's dead, Jim" or "Who was that masked man?" This serves to close the story in the reader's mind.
This short book repeats this pitch over and over and includes some unrelated info that is marginly useful but unrelated to the above points.
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