- Paperback: 64 pages
- Publisher: Action Publishing LLC; 1 edition (January 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1886211000
- ISBN-13: 978-1886211001
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,627,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writing to the Point: A Complete Guide to Selling Fiction 1st Edition
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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.
Top customer reviews
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But I heard Swain and also Dean Wesley Smith were students of Algis Budrys' storytelling philosophies, I thought I'd pick this book up--go to the source, so to speak. Maybe there's be some secrets in there Swain overlooked!
But I was really disappointed. Sure, the 7 parts of a story are great to know and are well-visualized here, and the thoughts behind "The manuscript is not the story" were also something I'd never thought about. But the rest of it didn't gel with me--like the entire appendix chapter about "ideas" that is, to me, psychobabble.
Maybe we just have different philosophies.
I thought this would be a book I'd note up to death (like TECHNIQUES), which is why I didn't buy the very affordable eBook. But now I'm realizing this only has a couple tidbits I'm finding useful. Those I can just jot down in my TECHNIQUES book. If I could do it again, I would've gone with the eBook.
At $15, this paperback feels like a ripoff. (And scummy--the cover has that creepy-weird matte texture, not quite felty, that makes the book feel permanently dirty. Blech!)
I recommend this short, powerful text to anyone interested in learning how to craft books and stories that sell. I re-read it every few weeks just to have the ideas fresh in my mind. Brilliant.
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."
"Different prescriptions suggest themselves for different causes of Gate X failure. Taking the causes in the order of simplicity--and thus working our way toward the situation of the beginning writer--these include:
(2) Organic defects in the brain short of death, which require the intervention of a neurologist. These may produce (...)"
And so the appendix goes, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. For a book entitled WRITING TO THE POINT, Budrys belabors ALL his points in this appendix, and strikes a manner that even Strunk and White would've excoriated. The end result is that this appendix is very laborious reading and incredibly tiresome.
Why Budrys felt the need to take what starts off as a direct, nearly dogmatic, approach to writing instruction, and then to devolve into this mind-numbing morass, I'll never understand. What he said in this appendix on ideas could have been said much more easily.