This book is an older book but still very useful as an author’s writing resource. The book is very thin and easily read quickly. It is divided up as follows:
Part One: is divided into six sub-chapters. Chapter One is about finding ideas, Chapter Two is about writing story outlines, Chapter Three is about building characters, Chapter Four is about writing Dialogue. Chapter Five covers style and the importance of writing good and strong titles.
Part Two: is divided into fourteen sub-chapters. Chapter Seven is about writing a short story, Chapter Eight is about writing short Romantic fiction, Chapter Nine is about writing mysteries while, Chapter Ten is about writing science fiction. Chapter Eleven covers writing westerns, and, Chapter Twelve discusses writing for children. In Chapter Thirteen, you’ll read about young adult fiction and finally, Chapter Fourteen will discuss the business end of writing.
Part One, Chapter One opens the door to the many places ideas are found, such as from personal experiences, daydreams, facts, letters to the Editor/Advice Columns in local newspapers, from book titles, television shows, various conversations, other books, and even history.
Part One, Chapter Two discusses the importance of an outline. It covers the purpose of the story, what the character’s key motivation is, what obstacles will the key character face? Conflict is introduced and discussed along with resolution and how important it is to ensure that every conflict carry its own resolution until the final one, that ends the story.
Part One, Chapter Three highlights character building. You discover the importance of fleshing out your characters, making them real, faulted, interesting and valuable to the succession of your story. Pitfalls are discussed and how important it is to avoid confusion. Knowing your characters is the most important thing and you will learn why. You are given a mock Interview outline for each character you develop that is comprised of thirty questions to fully flesh them out.
Part One, Chapter Four focuses on dialogue and its use within your story. You’ll discover why it’s the most important component of fiction and why. You’ll learn about voice and point of view by discovering the answers to three basic questions. First Person and Third-Person point of views are focused on in this chapter and discussed in further detail.
Part One Chapter Five breaks down what style is, and Part One Chapter Six discusses the importance of working titles. Four key points are emphasized when choosing a title, and you will learn what they are.
In Part Two, Chapter Seven, the author moves on to discuss the different types of writing beginning with the short story. Discussion on which key points must be included is covered and how to keep your readers riveted to the page is discussed here. You’ll learn what a cliff-hanger is and how important it is to writing short stories. You will learn what makes up fiction, how it’s broken into groups and what they are, and even about time transitions and the different types. The author talks about pacing, symbolism, modifiers, and the usage of adjectives and adverbs. Ideas for short stories are also broached here in this chapter, as well as the markets available for shorts.
In Part Two, Chapter Eight, the next type of writing discussed in writing short romantic fiction. This chapter teaches you how to analyse your market by asking ten things about each magazine that prints stories similar to what you write. You learn to include three key points to include in your outline. You’ll be introduced to confession stories and true confession fiction and the formula that it follows and how it’s made up of seven key factors. You’ll also have a section that covers finding ideas in this chapter too as well as a bit about the market for romantic shorts.
In Part Two, Chapter Nine, mystery writing is discussed. A bit about mystery writings’ history will be shared and the devices mystery writers often use. You find out about the importance of plot unity and what it often depends on. This section begins with learning how to write mysteries, how to shape your plot using six key elements. You’ll learn the value of suspects and their links to the victim, choosing the correct point of view: first person, third person… This chapter will introduce you to what is called a plot wheel and what each spoke of the wheel is labelled. Radial graphs are introduced here too as well as time graphs, motivations, crime types, key characters and their roles and so much more. Once again, discussions on where to find ideas and the market for mystery writing is also discussed.
In Part Two, Chapter Ten, writing science fiction is discussed starting with defining the different types. Next, the author discusses how to write science fiction beginning with strong characters and their development. You’ll learn what triggers a science fiction and how speculation plays an important role in developing your science fiction story. Projection is discussed next and why it’s called a gimmick. You’ll read about the importance of consistency within your story and why research is a must when writing science fiction with the exception being writing space operas. You’ll learn about how imagination and information interact. Next, background is discussed and how it is largely part of the writer’s imagination and how conjecture begins to build the new world. There is a section that discusses moral codes, domestic politics, world politics and daily living in your world built within the pages of your story. Plotting is addressed followed by characterization and how to flesh out realistic beings using biographies and why building an alien character is different and must be approached carefully to avoid building an alien shell. You’ll have to consider anatomy, psychology, physics, biochemistry, and even culture when comprising your science fiction and this book will explain how. And as with all chapters, a section on finding ideas and discussing the science fiction market is included here too.
Part Two, Chapter Eleven focuses on writing westerns beginning with how to write one. This section includes the many mistakes new western writers make. Along with discussions on the different types of westerns, finding ideas and the western writing market are also included in this section.
Part Two Chapter Twelve, discusses writing for children, beginning with breaking down the many different groups of children’s books and how to write for each. You’ll learn about plot, the divisions of a story and the key points to each. Dialogue is discussed in this section too. Vocabulary and style is approached followed by dialogue and pace, action and even moral problems. Writing juvenile fiction, a huge part of this industry, is separately discussed, with sub-divisions of the previously mentioned areas being included and geared toward this genre.
Part Two Chapter Thirteen. This section is about writing for young adults. Fiction writing is discussed first. Issues like peer pressure, emotions, slang and outdated expressions are delved into, along with character development, viewpoint, and dialogue. Six key points are given to include when writing YA fiction and like all the others, finding ideas and the market for this genre are also included and discussed.
Part Two Chapter Fourteen. Finally, you’ll get a bit about the business end of writing. You’ll learn about the submission process, what’s required in your submission package to a potential publisher/agent. A bit of discussion pertaining to rights are included, although not too much. I wish there had been more. This is a very important section of writing and brief. You may want to research into more areas using what’s included in this section as ideas for that research.
I love this book. For such a small publication, it’s packed with helpful and useful information, a great resource tool for any writer.
I give this book: