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Starting from Scratch Paperback – March 1, 1989
New from Tom Wolfe
The maestro storyteller and reporter provocatively argues that what we think we know about speech and human evolution is wrong. Learn more
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Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Authors interested in writing mystery, fantasy, horror, SF, etc, will likely be put off by her repeated declaration that genre fiction is on the far edges of the distant suburbs of fiction, and none of her rules apply to it because it isn't real writing.
Part IV - a whip around of the peculiarities of writing different forms and in different media (television and film scripts, magazine articles, plays, etc - is of minor interest, short stories are blown off altogether.
Part V, her curriculum for a writers conservatory, would be better shared with an academic journal.
Part VI, her 30+ page reading list of critical works of fiction through the ages, starting in 665 AD, feels like it's pulled from a doctoral dissertation.
It's an interesting list, and contains many excellent works of genre: ...Read more ›
(This "review" originally appeared in First Impressions Installment One [[...]
Compared to the books I just mentioned, I definitely found this one below average. The information regarding latinate vs. Anglo-Saxon words gets a bit more thorough covering than in John Gardner, which is really nice, and if I could have bought just that chapter I would have, but listening to Ms. Brown's rather annoying social opinions for the rest of the book made it just not worth it - not for this Yankee anyway.
I make a full-time living as a freelance writer and novelist. I do not have a PhD in writing, have never taken Latin, and have never owned a cat. I find none of these three things necessary to getting published. Save yourself the money and join a good writers organization. Attend critique groups in your area. Network with other writers and really learn the business. Read, read, read, and write, write, write. In a few years, you'll get far more than you ever would get from listening to some stuffy professor in a college classroom. That's your PhD. While learning Latin can certainly help you develop an appreciation for the English language if that's your choice, I see no connection whatsoever between owning a cat and becoming a published author. Even today, after twenty years of advice, that remains as the absolute dumbest piece of writing advice I've ever heard.
If you choose a writing how-to book there are so many other great ones. Don't waste your time on this one, which I picked out at a Waldenbooks in a mall in the 90s because I liked the cover. If you do choose to read it to take in Rita Mae Brown's lovely prose, just remember to take what you need from the advice and toss the rest out. I can pretty much assure you that most successfully published writers today would laugh if they were told that a writer has to have a PhD, courses in Latin, and a cat to be successful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got the book sooner than expected in excellent condition, and I enjoyed it. The book is a view on what to do if you want to become a writer.Published 12 months ago by Stephanie Bava
I always loved Rita Mae's fiction, but until I read this book did not realize the scope of her knowledge, the extent of her research and her marvelous capacity for teaching! Read morePublished on June 18, 2014 by Steeleyes
I'm a writer; the pages on the use of the English language are invaluable and are a 'must have' for the serious writer. Read morePublished on September 19, 2013 by patricia Rydstrom
I did not realize that this book would be so detailed. It lists requirements for writing that most authors would never achieve. Read morePublished on July 18, 2013 by LA Lady
Very insightful book on the art of writing and creating novels or books. Even if you've already finished a first draft, the advice given here is useful.Published on December 17, 2012 by coloradoguy
Rita Mae Brown puts words together like no one I ever knew. Even though this is a "manual" for writing, it reads so well. Read morePublished on August 9, 2010 by S. Roth
I didn't really know what this was but it was not what I expected. I give it to my mother to sell in the fleamarket. It was my fault. Read morePublished on January 31, 2010 by A. Schuffert
As usual, enjoyable writing from this tireless author. Good book for ingenue as well as mature reader/writer.Published on February 5, 2009 by Curious Corgi