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Writing to Sell Hardcover – March 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0898797503 ISBN-10: 0898797500 Edition: 4 Sub

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Digest Books; 4 Sub edition (March 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898797500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898797503
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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For those interested in writing fiction, Writing to Sell is a great tool.
stoic
Meredith's book is simple and excellent because it provides very clear directions & instructions for how to get to your writing destination.
James B. Johnson
This is one of the best books, I have ever read on the subject of writing to make a living.
Don Knebel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Woodring Stover on September 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I was given this book, I had never been paid for my fiction. Now I make a living at it; in fact, since I started applying these principles to my fiction, I've never FAILED to sell a novel. I've sold nine so far.
This book contains everything you need to know.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dorion Sagan on February 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
First appearing in 1950, and a hilarious 1974 introduction by the redoubtable Arthur C. Clarke, pioneering literary agent Scott Meredith's (I923-1993) Writing to Sell is an excellent tool for the aspiring writer. Meredith has a deep understanding of the marketplace (although some of his observations have become dated), as well as of what makes plots work (his original aspiration was to be a science fiction writer).He generalizes the successful plot as one in which an initial conflict is complicated to a climax, makes useful distinctions (e.g., between "incident" and "story") and gives many practical suggestions on novel writing and revising. (There is one chapter devoted to nonfiction.) Perhaps reflecting Meredith's financial success, there is a tendency to equate literary success entirely with sales reminiscent of Mickey Spillane's comment that what intellectuals don't understand is more people eat peanuts than caviar-or Tom Clancy's comment not to "commit art." Meredith's clients have included Norman Mailer, Ellery Queen, Robert Silverberg, and Philip K. Dick; and he was mentor to many agents and editors. With the qualification that his "just-sell-it" tonic may quash artistic originality, there is a lot to learn from his distillation of the American writing experience-which is no doubt why this book remains in print with Writer's Digest Books half a century after its initial publication. From the need to start off in a recognizable genre, to the importance of not skimping on the first draft and presenting likable characters with seemingly impossible problems, Meredith's work is a highly readable primer on the basic attributes of a salable novel. In short, although somewhat mercantile and dated,Writing to Sell is an excellent craft of writing work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
If you've ever thought that maybe you had a novel in you, then this is the book to help bring it out. This book contains the best overall look at writing a novel around. While it's far from being exhaustive in content, it does give you a good picture of all aspects of writing including the pros and cons of agents, how to write a great query letter, how to build a go-for-the-throat beginning, and how to create a leave-them-speechless ending. Don't miss the chapter: "Stuffing the Hollow Man" - an inc
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Now that I've read eight or nine how-to books on novel writing, I can say with certainty that this one, along with Sol Stein's, has had the greatest impact on me. Both of these men have significant experience as literary agents, so it behooves aspiring writers such as myself to pay greater heed to them than to writers who merely let us in on their personal secrets or academics who publish scholarly papers about fiction, but are unable to sell any themselves. Editors and literary agents are the ones who must be sold on the script in order for it to be published, after all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James B. Johnson on May 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I own a large pile of how-to-write books. Many of the books do not get you from here to there in terms of acquiring writing skills. Most give you a destination, but only a vague sense of how to get to that destination. It's like trying to go from your house to Oz, on a clear & sunny day.

Meredith's book is simple and excellent because it provides very clear directions & instructions for how to get to your writing destination.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shack (shack@hotmail.com) on May 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent comprehensive look at writing in every aspect, especially in relation to the market, with the added spice of Meredith's unique sense of humor. While I do not think highly of the book's attitude towards drafts and revision (which is, in my opinion, more likely than not to drive beginning writers to perfectionism and then out of writing altogether) this is the only recognizable flaw in an otherwise sparkling work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By stoic VINE VOICE on April 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Scott Meredith's Writing to Sell has enjoyed a huge following since its initial publication in 1950. Writers and would-be writers will find much to like in this book.

Meredith gained his fame as the agent to many famous writers. In Writing to Sell, he takes what he learned from dealing with publishers and provides his readers with practical advice on how to write marketable fiction. Most readers will find value in Meredith's discussion of the "plot skeleton." Meredith states that almost all good fiction follows some variation on this basic plot.

I really like Writing to Sell, but readers should be clear on the book's aims and scope. First, the title is correct; Meredith does not provide instruction on how to become the next Shakespeare or Dante. The focus here is on writing manuscripts that publishers want to buy rather than on fiction as "serious" art. Moreover, the relatively-short length (about 215 pages) precludes in-depth discussions of many important topics.

For those interested in writing fiction, Writing to Sell is a great tool. This short book can help improve almost any beginner's fiction.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in it's previous edition, years ago, and I found it most inspiring. All you have to do is remember that it's written from an editor's point of view. Read it, and use what you can. Personally, I got a lot of good advice for working habits, characterization and plots.
And it's not as boring as many other technical books. the language is flowing and full of humor. I strongly recommend it.
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