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misc.writing Recommended Reading List [29Jul2002]

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Archive-name: writing/recommended-reading
Posting-Frequency: weekly
Last-modified: 29 July 2002
Copyright: See section 11.
Maintainer: Terry L Jeffress <>

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

     0 What's New in This Version

        0.1 New for 29 July 2002
        0.2 New for 04 January 2002
        0.3 New for 31 December 2001

     1 What is the Recommended Reading List?

        1.1 What is the purpose of the misc.writing Recommended
              Reading List?
        1.2 What is the format of the entries?
        1.3 What is the order of the entries?
        1.4 Who can submit to the RRL?
        1.5 How do I submit to the RRL?
        1.6 If this is a recommended reading list,
        1.7 What if I find an error in the list or
        1.8 What if I disagree with an entry in the list?

     2 Books about Writing

        2.1 On Being a Writer
        2.2 Writing Fiction
        2.3 Writing Genre Fiction (SF/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Western)
        2.4 Writing Romance Novels
        2.5 Writing for Children
        2.6 Writing Plays and Screenplays
        2.7 Writing Nonfiction
        2.8 Literary Criticism

     3 Books about the Writing Industry

        3.1 Literary Agents and Agencies
        3.2 Copyright
        3.3 Editing

     4 Magazines about Writing

     5 Market Listings and Reports

        5.1 General
        5.2 Children's Fiction
        5.3 Genre Fiction

     6 References of Interest to Writers

        6.1 Style Guides
        6.2 Grammar and Usage

     7 Acknowledgements

     8 Copyright and Acceptable Use Statement

0 What's New in This Version

0.1 New for 29 July 2002

        - Fixed some typos.

0.2 New for 04 January 2002

        - New Review: _The Forest for the Trees_ by Betsy Lerner
          (Section 3.3).

0.3 New for 31 December 2001

        - New Review: _Bird by Bird_ by Anne Lamott (Section 2.1).

        - New Review: _How to Write a Damn Good Novel_ by James N.
          Frey. (Section 2.2).

        - New Review: _How to Write a Damn Good Novel II_ by James N.
          Frey. (Section 2.2).

        - New Review: _The First Five Pages_ by Noah Lukeman. (Section

1 What is the Recommended Reading List?

1.1 What is the purpose of the misc.writing Recommended Reading List?

    As writers, we've all read some books about writing. Some of us
    have probably read too many -- even reading books about writing to
    procrastinate writing. For novice writers, this list should help
    you decide which books might help you along your way and possibly
    avoid wasting time with a loser. For you old hands, this list
    should help you pick a book to read while putting off rewriting
    your draft (you do have your draft finished, don't you?) of your
    earth-shattering, best-selling, blockbuster novel.

    At first the list included reviews of only books, but there are so
    many other resources available to writers that the list now
    includes reviews of writing-related periodicals, market lists,
    Internet sites, and software.

1.2 What is the format of the entries?

    In general, I use a bibliographic format for the list entries.
    Where possible, I have included some information that is not
    generally found in bibliographies -- ISBN, binding, price -- but
    is useful if you are trying to find or buy the listed work.

    In association with, you can purchase books directly
    from the HTML version of the list by clicking on the books' ISBNs.
    The prices listed are in US dollars unless otherwise noted. (These
    are the list prices, you will often pay 20-30% less through

    The general entry format looks like this:

        Author, First Name. _Title of Author's Book._ Nth ed.
        City: Publisher, Year. ISBN 0-000-00000-0, binding, pages,

    An example from the list:

        Curtis, Richard. _How to be Your Own Literary Agent._
        Revised and expanded ed. Boston: Hougised and expanded ed.
        Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. ISBN 0-395-71819-8, trade
        paperback, 257 pp., $13.95.

    Book entries include their binding method and size:

        - Hardcover -- standard hardcover (usually 6 x 9 inches)

        - Hardcover (10 x 12 inches) -- odd sized hardcover editions

        - Paperback -- the mass-market paperback edition

        - Trade paperback -- standard size (6 x 9 inches) paperback

        - Paperback (8 x 11 inches) -- odd sized paperback

        - Softcover -- paperback of unknown size

    Magazine entries are followed by ISSN, the last known mailing
    address, and subscription rates.

    One or more reviews follows each entry's bibliographic
    information. When the author of the review is known, I have listed
    the author's name and e-mail address following the review. (At the
    author's request, I will withhold either the e-mail address, or
    name, or both.)

1.3 What is the order of the entries?

    I have grouped the subject areas together into logical sets. As I
    receive more reviews, I may subdivide some of the sections. Within
    each section, the entries appear in alphabetical order by the
    author's last name, when the author is known, and by editor or
    title otherwise.

1.4 Who can submit to the RRL?

    Anyone who has read a book, magazine, or other work (including
    internet resources and software) about writing or the writing
    industry may submit a review to the list. You do not have to be a
    regular (or even occasional) reader of misc.writing to submit.

1.5 How do I submit to the RRL?

    Please mail submissions directly to me at <>.
    Reviews should be concise and state the specific benefits and
    failings of the work. In your submission include all the
    bibliographic information listed in section 1.2. Especially
    important are the physical details of the book. I can look up most
    bibliographic details from the Library of Congress database, but I
    can't tell physical size, the price, or the number of pages.
    Indicate the category where you feel the entry belongs -- you've
    read the work so you know where it fits best. Please indicate if
    you do not want your name or e-mail address posted with your

    Feel free to submit reviews of works that already appear in the
    RRL, especially if you have a dissenting opinion. Where additional
    reviews add new material or information about an entry, I will
    include the new entry.

    Some entries have a one-line review that says almost nothing
    useful: "One of the best books in the genre. A really good read."
    Please send me new, expanded reviews for these entries.

    Sometimes I receive lengthy reviews. In this case I silently
    condense the review and give the author full credit for the entry.
    I will also make small editorial changes to keep the style of the
    entries consistent.

1.6 If this is a recommended reading list, why are some reviews

    No one will love every book. What works for one author may be
    detrimental to another. By including a variety of opinions, I hope
    to make it easier for you to choose a book that fits your needs.
    If there is a real bomb of a book, I hope to steer readers away
    from that title, rather than not give any direction through

1.7 What if I find an error in the list or know some missing
    bibliographic information?

    If you find errors in the list or know any of the missing details
    about an entry, please let me know. There have been several list
    maintainers and information may have been accidentally excluded or

    If you are the author of an entry and your address changes, let me
    know and I wur address changes, let me know and I will update your
    bylines. And if you are the author of an entry and it has not been
    attributed to you, please let me know.

1.8 What if I disagree with an entry in the list?

    If you read a review and have a dissenting opinion, please write a
    concise counter review or rebuttal. I will make every effort to
    give a complete listing of the various viewpoints. See sections
    1.2 and 1.4 for information about submitting a review.

2 Books about Writing

2.1 On Being a Writer

    Bradbury, Ray. _Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity._
        Santa Barbara, California: Joshua Odell Editions, Capra Press,
        1989. Hardcover, 154 pp, $18.95. Expanded edition. ISBN 1-
        877741-09-4, trade paperback, $11.95. Bantam Books, 1995. ISBN
        0-55329-634-5, mass-market paperback, $5.99.

        _Zen in the Art of Writing_ is an interesting examination into
        the modus operandi of one of the great writers of our century.
        Bradbury's main theme is that writing should be fun and not
        arduous work. _Zen_ adequately fulfills the title by
        describing Bradbury's beliefs about writing and his personal
        practices, but it is only a self-examination and may not be
        useful to many other writers. (For example, Bradbury writes in
        spontaneous flashes and _never_ revises his material.)
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Brande, Dorothea. _Becoming a Writer._ J. P. Archer, 1981. ISBN 0-
        874771-64-1, trade paperback, 186 pp., $9.95.

        This book was originally published in 1934 and is as fresh as
        ever today. An excellent and complete book, dealing with
        almost every aspect of the art of writing, with many wonderful
        suggestions on how to overcome blocks, view ones own work
        critically, etc. The current printing has a foreword by John
        Gardner, author of many books dealing with the art and craft
        of fiction.

    Brown, Rita Mae. _Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of
        Writer's Manual._ Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1989. ISBN 0-553-
        34630-X, trade paperback, $12.95.

        Care and feeding of yourself as a writer. Brown, a working
        writer, has useful information on what standard of living to
        expect (near-poverty), how to make ends meet, and what to do
        with screenplays (take the money and run -- what appears on
        the screen will probably bear almost no resemblance to your
        work; that's why you write novels). Also contains some
        interesting philosophy.

        Dissenting Review: The chapter on substance abuse is
        essential, the rest forgettable.

    Chehak, Susan Taylor. _Don Quixote Meets the Mob: The Craft of
        Fiction and the Art of Life._ Xlibris, 2000. ISBN 0-7388-2476-
        3, trade paperback, 245 pp., $16.00.

        Chehak describes some fundamental concepts of fiction writing
        similar to what you would find in almost any other how-to-
        write books, an overview of story arcs, setting, character,
        point of view, and dialogue. You would probably get a better
        understanding of the basic elements of fiction from a Freshman
        literature class, but you don't get too bored because Chehak
        generously peppers the text with interesting personal stories
        that illustrate her points.

        But the meat of _Don Quixote Meets the Mob_ comes in part two:
        The Art of Life. Chehak philosophically muses about fiction's
        role in the lives of both readers and writers, augmented again
        with personal anecdotes. She describes her view that many
        people live their own lives not in reality, but in some sort
        of personal fiction conglomerated from books, TV, experience,
        and imagination -- that people see themselves as the hero of
        some grand epic novel or action movie, as a Don Quixote
        battling against modern forces of evil such as the mob.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Dillard, Annie. _The Writing Life._ HarperCollins, 1990. ISBN 0-
        06-091988-4, trade paperback, $11.00.

        Taken from essays that first appeared in _Esquire,_ the
        _TriQuarterly,_ and several other magazines. Dillard describes
        her experiences as a writer. _The Writing Life_ is not a how-
        to volume in any sense; the crisp prose provides a direct
        glimpse into a writer's fertile mind.

    Gardner, John. _On Becoming a Novelist._ W. W. Norton, 1983. ISBN
        0-393-32003-0, hardcover, 172 pp., $12.00.

        The Foreword by Raymond Carver alone makes this book
        worthwhile. Although you could call the book "inspirational"
        in nature because it deals with the art rather than the craft
        of writing (and although it says "Novelist" in the title, the
        book is also valuable to short story writers), it is not an
        exercise in cheerleading, but rather a serious discussion of
        the nature and training of a fiction writer. (There is also a
        chapter titled "Publication and Survival.") A wonderful book
        for the serious artist.

    Goldberg, Natalie. _Writing Down the Bones._ Shambhala
        Publications, 1986. ISBN 0-877733-75-9, trade paperback, 171
        pp., $10.00.

        The book consists of about 60 two- or three-page chapters,
        each of which presents a brief technique or suggestion for
        improving one's writing and creative process, with emphasis on
        the latter. Many times, the advice is presented via anecdotes.
        A very "Zen" approach to creative writing, as one might guess
        from the publisher.

    Lamott, Anne. _Bird by Bird._ Anchor, 1994. ISBN 0-385-48001-6,
        trade paperback, 239 pp., $12.95.

        _Bird by Bird_ takes a very different approach from standard
        how-to-write fare. Lamott admits that for most writers,
        writing will not produce wealth, happiness, or security. Yet,
        writers keep on writing anyway. Lamott focuses her advice on
        getting you in tune with your subconscious and on overcoming a
        lack of self-confidence. She encourages you to set small
        assignments for yourself: you should only work on as much of
        your story as you can see through a one-inch picture frame. By
        achieving assignment after assignment, you will eventually
        accomplish a great deal of work.

        Lamott must also have one of the most self-deprecating brains
        every to have inhabited a human form. She tells humorous
        stories of her own continued nervousness about her writing in
        spite of her established successes. From her own experience,
        she gives numerous tips on overcoming the inner critic that
        keeps telling you that forcing your pen through you temple
        would produce a better result than putting the point to the
        paper. For on thing, you should allow yourself to write really
        bad first drafts. No one will see the draft, so you don't have
        to worry about quality. Later, you can throw away most of the
        dreck, but you will also want to save the really good parts
        that you would have never produced if you had tried to produce
        really good copy from the beginning.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Michener, James, A. _James A. Michener's Writer's Handbook:
        Explorations in Writing and Publishing._ New York: Random
        House, 1992. ISBN 0-679-74126-7, paperback (8.5 x 11 inches),
        182 pp., $15.00.

        Michener describes his creative process from initial idea
        through proofing of the galleys. He offers writers a look at
        how much work a seasoned professional still has to put into
        his books. Michener follows the life of a chapter in one of
        his novels from manuscript, to editor, to galleys, to final
        copy. In an appendix, Michener answers the questions he is
        most often asked by would-be writers. He explains that hard
        work and determination with an attitude of "I can be
        published" are essential to success as a writer.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Ueland, Brenda. _If You Want to Write: A Book about Art,
        Independence, and Spirit._ 10th ed. St. Paul, Minnesota:
        Greywolf Press, 1997. ISBN 1-55597-260-8, trade paperback, 180
        pp., $11.95.

        This fine little book was originally published at about the
        same time as Dorothea Brande's book and must be the _most_
        inspirational writing book ever to fall into my possession.
        Carl Sandberg called this book, "The best book ever written
        about how to write." This is not a "nuts-n-bolts" book; it
        raises you up, brushes you off, and sends you along the path
        to new heights of creativity.

2.2 Writing Fiction

    Bicknam, Jack. _Scene and Structure._ Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's
        Digest Books, 1993. ISBN 0-89879-906-6, hardcover, 168 pp.,

        This is perhaps the best book in the "Elements of Fiction
        Writing" series from Writer's Digest. It is a relatively
        advanced book for the writer who has a pretty good handle on
        the basic mechanics of plot, theme, style, etc. It describes
        the basic mechanics of stimulus-internalization-response, how
        that builds into scenes, how scenes build into chapters, how
        to compile chapters into a book. It has a section on
        specialized techniques for changing the pace, dealing with
        multiple plot lines, interrupting scenes and more. This book
        explains how to make a story hang together, and how to keep it
        from falling apart. Although many writing books cover the same
        general territory, _Scene and Structure_ covers an area most
        fail to mention. Strongly recommended.
            -- Alexander von Thorn <>

    Block, Lawrence. _Telling Lies for Fun and Profit: A Manual for
        Fiction Writers._ Sandia: 1990. ISBN 0-9440091-1-5. Out of

        I'm relatively new to writing and still consider myself to be
        at most an advanced beginner, but the first book I read about
        the craft of writing was _Telling Lies for Fun and Profit_ by
        Lawrence Block. For me, at least, the book was interesting and
        enjoyable, and was the first to raise my awareness of certain
        aspects of writing, such as the importance of choosing nouns
        and verbs that put color into your writing rather than relying
        on adjectives and adverbs. He also discusses issues such as
        the pros and cons of using dialect and colloquialism in
        character dialog.

        A couple of elements show the book to be a bit dated, such as
        his numerous references to using a typewriter, but the large
        majority of the material here is unaffected by the passage of
        a couple of decades. A more advanced writer may consider some
        of the material self-evident, or arguable, but for me at least
        it was a worthwhile read, good enough that at some point I'll
        probably read Block's other books about writing.
            -- Joe McCauley <>

    Block, Lawrence. _Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print._
        Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 1979. ISBN 0-89879-
        208-8, trade paperback, 198 pp., $14.99.

        Probably one of the most practical guides about writing that I
        have seen. Block reflects on the solutions to problems that he
        has experienced as well as referring to a survey he made of
        twenty or more recognized authors. His approach is very down
        to earth: set goals, read the type of fiction you want to
        write (if you don't like to read it, how do you expect to be
        able to write it?), diagram the structure of a novel in the
        genre you want to write in, and above all write every day.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Burnett, Hallie. _On Writing the Short Story._ HarperPerennial,
        1983. ISBN 0-06-273174-2, trade paperback, $11.00

    Burnett, Hallie and Whit. _Fiction Writer's Handbook._
        HarperPerennial, 1993. ISBN 0-06-273169-6, trade paperback,

        Hallie and Whit Burnett, as founding editors of _Story_
        magazine (which has recently gone back into print as a
        quarterly), published the first works of writers such as
        Norman Mailer (who graces the first volume with a Preface), J.
        D. Salinger, Joseph Heller, Truman Capote, and Tennessee
        Williams. In these books, they bring their enormous experience
        to bear in chapters that deal with both the creative process
        and the craft of fiction.

    Card, Orson Scott. _Character and Viewpoint._ Cincinnati, Ohio:
        Writer's Digest Books, 1988. ISBN 0-89879-307-6, hardcover,
        182 pp., $15.99.

        Well written and very helpful. One of the few writer's manuals
        I could read all the way through in one sitting.

    Cook, Marshall. _Freeing Your Creativity : A Writer's Guide._
        Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 1995. ISBN 0-89879-
        664-4, trade paperback, $14.99.

        Quite a good book; covers such topics as procrastination,
        creative gathering etc. Not something that could be read in
        one sitting, but worth a read none the less, although I would
        suggest hunting through your local hunting through your local
        library before buying.

    Egri, Lajos. _The Art of Creative Writing._ Citadel Press, 1965,
        1995. ISBN 0-80650-200-2, softcover, $8.95.

        Although Egri's books are written with a slightly dated style,
        they go straight to the heart of what makes dramatic fiction
        truthful and exciting. These are not books with formulas or
        tips about writing, but rather, they analyze what it is that
        makes a reader care about characters, what makes them
        realistic, and how a compelling plot grows realistically from

    Frey, James N. _How To Write a Damn Good Novel._ St. Martin's
        Press, 1987. ISBN 0-312-01044-3, hardcover, 174 pp., $19.95.

        In a very breezy, no-nonsense style with plenty of examples,
        author Frey goes into precise details about establishing good
        characters, creating conflict within your story, coming up
        with a premise, changing points of view, how to come up with
        realistic dialog, and how to handle rewriting. Also covered is
        a final chapter on the "Zen of Novel Writing," giving an
        overall view of what kind of life you can expect, how to deal
        with writers block, and a plethora of other tips.

        I found the book to be remarkably useful. It's reasonably
        short (well under 200 pages), yet zeros-in on the most
        important facets of writing. Whether you're dealing with
        novels or short-stories, I think there's a wealth of material
        here to ponder and peruse. There's also a bibliography of
        nearly two dozen additional books -- both works of fiction and
        books on writing -- many of which were used as examples and
        source material for the book. I think many would-be writers
        who have a trouble getting a handle on _structure_ will get
        something out of _Damn Good Novel_, if nothing else. And his
        concept of Premise -- character, conflict and conclusion --
        will be easy for beginners to digest.

        Frey's book (and the sequel) has been enormously successful on, and I think for good reason. Whole college courses
        on writing could (and have) been taught with _How To Write a
        Damn Good Novel_; Frey teaches at the University of California
        at Berkeley, and his credentials are hard to criticize. I
        consider both this book and the sequel to be absolutely
        indispensible. Beginners looking for an ideal way to start
        writing novels need look no further.
            -- Marc Wielage <>

    Frey, James N. _How To Write a Damn Good Novel II: Advanced
        Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling._ St. Martin's Press,
        1994. ISBN 0-312-10478-2, hardcover, 161 pp., $18.95.

        A follow-up to Frey's original top-rated treatise, Frey's
        second book covers more advanced novel-writing techniques,
        including "The Fictive Dream and How to Induce It," how to
        create suspense, creating memorable characters, more on
        premise, developing your voice, and how to write with passion.

        I found the chapter on "The Seven Deadly Mistakes" to be
        particularly useful: the topics here include Timidity, Trying
        to be Literary, Ego-Writing, Failure to Learn to Re-dream the
        Dream, Failure to Keep Faith with Yourself, choosing the Wrong
        Lifestyle, and Failure to Produce. I admired Frey's
        willingness to admit his own mistakes and follies from his
        life, even to the point of using them as examples in the

        In some cases, I found what Frey wrote didn't necessarily help
        me _directly_, nor did this one have quite the same impact as
        his first. But what he did do was to force me to look at
        certain writing challenges from a different point of view.
        That alone was worth the trip, because it enabled me to find a
        way to write with more passion, with better descriptive
        language, and with a clearer eye to the final goal. Like the
        first book, I found it to be absolutely indispensible to new
            -- Marc Wielage <>

    Gardner, John. _The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young
        Writers._ New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983. Reissue ed.
        Vintage, 1991. ISBN 0-67973-403-1, trade paperback, 226 pp.,

        John Gardner has a lot to say and often uses as many words as
        he can to express himself. He claims to be speaking only to
        those who seek to write artistic, literary fiction, but his
        discussions will fit every genre. Almost every sentence (and
        at least every paragraph) makes a challenging statement about
        fiction and its creation. Gardner beautifully describes the
        state where the reader experiences the events put on paper by
        the author -- and admonishes us to be very aware of how our
        writing affects this state. You never want to jolt your reader
        away from the dream you are creating in the reader's mind.

        Part two presents Gardner's advice about writing, listing
        common errors, writing techniques, and methods of plotting.
        The most interesting chapter has various exercises for writers
        to practice which embody all the points that Gardner tried to
        make in the text of his book. Much of the primary message is
        somewhat cryptic and difficult to extract without rereading,
        but rereading is worthwhile.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

        This book is a classic, and is a must buy for anyone seriously
        attempting to write fiction. However, you will not find any
        formulas, point systems, or graphs that show you how to
        construct a story (well, maybe a graph or two). What you will
        find is meaty chapters on aesthetics, artistic mystery,
        fiction as dream, genre, interest, and metafiction. You will
        also find at the back a set of extremely useful exercises. All
        material is gleaned from Gardner's years of teaching graduate-
        level creative writing.level creative writing.

    Gardner, John. _On Moral Fiction._ Basic Books, 1978. ISBN 0-465-
        05225-8, hardcover, 214 pp. Out of print.

        Although first printed in 1978, Gardner's book on what is
        wrong and right in contemporary fiction is perhaps even more
        germane to writers today than it was then. This highly
        intelligent, provocative, humorous, and ultimately upbeat work
        would be valuable to novice and experienced writers alike,
        whether they agree with Gardner's tenets or not: the questions
        he asks inevitably lead the reader to deeply reflect on his or
        her own art.

        _On Moral Fiction_ is garnished with practical, craft-related
        case studies and examples of character and plot development,
        intertwined with clearly stated opinion on the nature of
        aesthetics and the creative act. The book can best be
        summarized by the following excerpt:

        Real art creates myths a society can live with instead of die
        by, and clearly our society is in need of such myths. . . .
        Such myths are not merely hopeful fairy tales but the products
        of careful and disciplined thought, that a properly built myth
        is worthy of belief, at least tentatively; that working at art
        is a moral act; that a work of art is a moral example; and
        that false art can be known for what it is if one remembers
        the rules. (126)

        _On Moral Fiction_ then proceeds to explain the rules, drawing
        on examples from the history of literature, painting, music,
        philosophy, and the sciences.
            -- Richard Guziewicz <>

    Hills, Rust. _Writing in General, and the Short Story in
        Particular: An Informal Textbook._ Revised ed. Boston:
        Houghton Mifflin, 1987. ISBN 0-395-44268-0, trade paperback,
        197 pp., $14.00.

        L. Rust Hills was fiction editor of Esquire Magazine for some
        20 years, and his book is jam-packed with rapid-fire
        commentary on just about every technical aspect of crafting a
        short story. It is by far the most intelligent and complete
        such book I have come across, and makes a fine companion to
        Gardner's _Art of Fiction_ mentioned above.
            -- ?

        Hills organized his personal ponderings and observations about
        the short story about the short story from his years of
        experience as an editor into this concise reference about the
        short story as a literary form. Although his tone is
        conversational, Hills gives an in-depth analysis of the
        elements of the short story, continually comparing and
        contrasting the short story with other literary forms. He is
        amazingly thorough and maintains his conversational tone
        through masterful transitions between each section. While
        reading, Hills seems to be conducting one long discussion, but
        in retrospect we see that he has covered many topics in
        detail. This smooth transition between topics also
        demonstrates the interdependency of the elements in the short
        story form -- that each element of the successful short story
        (character, plot, setting, tone, style) all rely so heavily on
        each other that to change one changes them all. This is why
        one can argue that any of the points of a short story is the
        most important, because all of the elements work together in a
        synergistic fashion toward the whole story.

        In the afterword, Hills presents an example of his own writing
        process, a chaotic, meandering method that is amazing when
        reflecting on the coherent and organized result. It also fills
        writers with comfort that not everyone moves from outline to
        rough draft to final draft as smoothly as our College
        professors would have us believe.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Knight, Damon. _Creating Short Fiction._ Vol. 1. Cincinnati, Ohio:
        Writer's Digest Books, 1981. 3rd ed. St. Martins Press, 1997.
        ISBN 0-312-15094-6, trade paperback, $13.95.

        Really one of the very best how-to-write handbooks I have ever

    Lukeman, Noah. _The First Five Pages._ Fireside Books (Simon &
        Shuster), 2000. ISBN 0-684-85743-X, trade paperback, 207 pp.,

        Subtitled "A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection
        Pile," Lukeman's book is designed not to tell you how to
        _write_, but to tell you how _not_ to write. The book is
        divided into three basic sections: "Preliminary Problems"
        (dealing with issues such as presentation, excessive use of
        adjectives and adverbs, sound, etc.), "Dialogue" (avoiding
        cliches, how not to be melodramatic or hard to follow, etc.),
        and "The Bigger Picture" (the all-important "Show, not Tell,"
        various viewpoints, hooks, and so on.

        I think the advice on how to grab the reader with the first
        few pages of the manuscript -- plunging the characters
        immediately into conflict, and introducing a dramatic element
        as quickly as possible -- was most useful to me. Many other
        the other tips may seem subtle at first, but put together, the
        combination proved to be extremely helpful to me.

        For those who immediately react negatively when told what
        _not_ to do, I can only offer you two bits of advice: first,
        when I went back and compared half a dozen of my favorite
        best-sellers against the advice in this book, I found that
        every one of them obeyed the rules to a "T". And secondly, I'm
        of the school that says, "before you can break the rules,
        you've got to learn what they are." Once they're mastered,
        then and only then can you make the decision when and how to
        break them.

        Lukeman writes from an editor or literary agent's point of
        view -- understandable, given that he's a major NY-based agent
        -- but I think beginning writers would be wise to take heed of
        his words. in Like the author, I can't guarantee that if you
        follow the rules of _The First Five Pages_ your book will
        sell. But it seems obvious to me that your manuscript won't
        even get past the first step if you make the basic mistakes
        described in the book. For that reason alone, I consider this
        book to be one of the most important books on writing I've
        read (out of several dozen).
            -- Marc Wielage <>

    Madden, David. _Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers: 185
        Practical Techniques for Improving Your Story or Novel._
        Plume. Reissue ed. New American Library, 1995. ISBN 0-4522-
        6414-6, trade paperback, $13.95.

        Touches on just about anything you could think of. A good
        checklist/reference book.

    Perry, Susan K. _Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity_
        Cincinnatti, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 1999. ISBN 0-89879-
        929-5 hardcover, 274 pp., $19.99.

        For this _Los Angeles Times_ bestseller, 76 top novelists and
        poets were interviewed to find out how they enter "flow," that
        timeless state of mind from which so much of the most creative
        writing emerges. Pulitzer Prize winners and bestselling
        authors alike, from Jane Smiley to Sue Grafton to Robert
        Pinsky, share their most intimate experiences related to the
        creative process. In addition to a careful analysis of what
        works and why, this compulsively readable volume features
        questions and answers posed by writers, as well as exercises
        and insights that should help any writer, whether novelist,
        poet, essayist, or nonfiction writer, to face the blank page
        with more pleasure and more satisfying results.
            -- Susan K. Perry, Ph.D. <>

    Reed, Kit. _Revision._ Writer's Digest Books, 1989. ISBN 0-89879-
        350-5, hardcover. Out of print.

        A decent book on revising and rewriting, though I personally
        found most of it pretty self-evident.

    Spinrad, Norman. _Staying Alive: A Writer's Survival Guide._
        Donning, 1983. ISBN 0-89865-259-6, softcover. Out of print. <p
        clas Out of print.

        Spinrad's _Writer's Survival Guide,_ is, as I recall, quite
        out of date, but good reading. Spinrad is always idiosyncratic
        (when he's deeply sincere, he appears to lapse _out_ of
        profanity!), and a lot of the book was columns he'd written
        about the then-state of the sf market.

    Zuckerman, Albert. _Writing the Blockbuster Novel._ Writer's
        Digest Books, 1994. ISBN 0-89879-598-2, hardcover, 218 pp.,

        If Zuckerman's title seems designed to snare every dreamer,
        don't be put off. _Writing the Blockbuster Novel_ actually
        delivers on the promise, and I speak from personal experience.
        This is not only a review, it is a testimonial.

        In clear terms, Zuckerman explains the things a book _must_
        have in order for it to gain massive appeal in the
        marketplace. _WTBN_ shows you why some books make the rest of
        your world vanish, and others (even by the same author) don't.
        Zuckerman uses many real-world examples from a handful of
        familiar blockbuster novels to illustrate his points. Author
        Ken Follett allowed Zuckerman (his agent) to include his
        first, second, third, and final outlines for _The Man From St.
        Petersburg._ Seeing how Follett went from a not-very-good
        outline to a gripping story is especially useful. Zuckerman
        also shows why Follett's early books (originally published in
        England) are not nearly as good as _The Eye of the Needle_ and
        subsequent efforts.

        I read _WTBN_ in the spring of 1995 when I was almost done
        with the first draft of my first novel, _Unintended
        Consequences._ Zuckerman made me see how some relatively
        simple changes would make my story much more compelling. A
        month later I had a contract with a little no-name house that
        had never before published a work of fiction. Today this 860-
        page first novel is in its third hardcover printing, and is
        the biggest seller the publisher has ever had. I have offers
        for the movie rights and a contract for the sequel. If I had
        not read read Zuckerman's book, these things would not have
            -- John Ross <>

2.3 Writing Genre Fiction (SF/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Western)

    Card, Orson Scott. _How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy._
        Writer's digest Books, 1990. ISBN 0-89879-416-1, hardcover,
        140 pp., $14.99.

        The nuts and bolts part of the book is well handled, with
        solid examples d, with solid examples (from other writers'
        works) of handling exposition, world-building and the like.
        What makes the book worth the price to writers who don't
        workshop, or don't live in an area with other writers in easy
        reach, is the section on creating the "wise reader." Card
        explains how his wife, Kristine, became a vital part of his
        writing process, even though initially she knew nothing
        whatsoever about what "worked" in a novel.

    Carr, Clarice M. _The Door to Doom And Other Detections._ New
        York: Harold Ober Associates, 1991. ISBN 1-55882-102-3. Out of

        A recently reprinted collection, _The Door to Doom and Other
        Detections_, includes John Dickson Carr's _The Grandest Game
        in the World_. It is an essay on the art of mystery fiction,
        with references to authors, their styles, techniques, and
        contributions to the genre. It's highly prejudiced towards the
        "fair-play" mystery, but anyone who wants a foothold in
        understanding the mystery as an art form could do far worse
        than to take it to heart and study the many authors and works
        Carr uses as illustrations.

    Grafton, Sue, ed. _Writing Mysteries : A Handbook by the Mystery
        Writers of America._ Writers Digest Books. ISBN 0-89879-502-8,
        hardcover, 208 pp., $18.99.

        Very thorough. Not always easy reading, but very informative.

    Longyear, Barry B. _Science Fiction Writer's Workshop 1: An
        Introduction to Fiction Mechanics._ Philadelphia,
        Pennsylvania: Owlswick Press, 1980. ISBN 0-9138961-8-7,
        softcover, $9.50.

        Longyear not only sits you down and lectures you on how to
        write SF that works, he shows you various examples -- from his
        own writing -- of what works and what doesn't by showing a
        first draft and then covering the processes that took the
        draft to the final, improved version. There is no, and never
        will be a, SFWW-II.

    Nolan, William F. _How to Write Horror Fiction._ Writers Digest
        Books, 1991. ISBN 0-89879-442-0, hardcover. Out of print.

        An excellent source book, and damn fine reading! I couldn't
        put it down! Well worth it!

    Rusch, Kristine Kathryn, and Dean Wesley Smith, eds. _Science
        Fiction Writers of America Handbook: The Professional Writer's
        Guide to Writing Professionally._ 2nd ed. Eugene, Oregon:
        Pulphouse, 1990. ISBN 1-56146-406-6, trade paperback, 248 pp.,
        $10.00. Out of print.

        A collection of essays by SF writers on various aspects of the
        trade. A mixed bag, but the good stuff is very good. Mostly
        nuts-and-bolts, but some "how I write my masterpieces" essays.
        Also a very good section on contracts and copyright.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

        Note: SFWA has released a 3rd edition.

    Williamson, J. N., ed. _How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy and
        Science Fiction._ Writers Digest Books, 1991. ISBN 0-89879-
        483-8, trade paperback, $14.99.

        This is quite a varied book, each chapter individually written
        by a such authors as Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan., James
        Kisner, Dean R. Koontz, Marian Zimmer Bradley, and Robert
        Bloch Interesting reading, and a good reference book.

2.4 Writing Romance Novels

    Falk, Kathryn. _How to Write a Romance and Get It Published._
        Revised ed. New American Library, 1990. ISBN 0-451-16531-4,
        paperback, $7.99.

        Several writers in my workshop like it; others hate it. My
        assessment is that it contains some useful information, some
        marginal generalizations, and some downright stupid advice.
        (My favorite: "You cannot be a successful romance novelist
        unless you wear silky underwear.") On the whole, this is a
        worthwhile book to have/read if you're interested in selling a
        romance novel, if only because of the extensive descriptions
        of the various formul of the various formulas in romance

    Paludan, Eve. _The Romance Writer's Pink Pages: The Insider's
        Guide to Getting Your Romance Novel Published._ Prima
        Publishers, 1996. ISBN 0-761501-68-1, trade paperback. Out of

        A directory of romance publishers and agents who handle
        romance novels.

    Pianka, Phyllis Taylor. _How to Write Romances._ Revised and
        updated ed. Writer's Digest Books, 1989. ISBN 0-89879-324-6,
        hardcover, 192 pp., $14.99.

        If memory serves me correctly, this includes a sample synopsis
        that the author used to sell one of her books.

2.5 Writing for Children

    Yolen, Jane. _Writing Books for Children._ The Writer, 1983. ISBN
        0-87116-133-8, softcover. Out of print.

        Advice from a _very_ successful author on how to research,
        create, and market books for the fastest-growing market.
        Yolen's passion and seriousness shine through every line.

2.6 Writing Plays and Screenplays

    Field, Syd. _Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting_ 3rd ed.
        Dell, 1987. ISBN 0-44-057647-4, trade paperback, $13.95.

        Fairly heavy going in places, but overall very good.

    Egri, Lajos. _The Art of Dramatic Writing._ Simon and Schuster,
        1946, 1960, 1977. ISBN 0-67121-332-6, trade paperback, $12.00.

        Although oriented towards playwriting, most of the advice
        applies to any dramatic fiction writing.

2.7 Writing Nonfiction

    Barzun, Jaques. _Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers._
        Revised ed. University of Chicago Press, 1985. ISBN 0-226-
        03868-8, trade paperback, 292 pp., $14.95.

        Does not describe rhetoric in the classical sense, but he does
        give some excellent suggestions for becoming aware of and
        tightening up one's writing. Eye opening and well worth the
        reading. Although it covers mainly rhetoric, this book really
        applies to any kind of technical or expository writing, and to
        some extent narrative fiction. I'd classify it as a general
        purpose writing improvement book. Hardback edition out of

    Bly, Robert W. _Secrets of a Freelance Writer: How to Make $85,000
        a Year._ New York: Henry Holt, 1988. ISBN 0-8050-1192-7, trade
        paperback, 273 pp., $10.95.

        Bly goes into great detail about the various kinds of writing
        that businesses often need: advertising (print, radio, and
        television), corporate reports, brochures, direct mail. He
        tells how to find clients that need these types of services,
        how much to charge, how long such jobs usually take. Bly
        describes how to promote yourself, find and maintain clients,
        and plan your time. He describes the business end of freelance
        work better than most, but he still skims over many areas that
        could be described in detail.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Corbett, Edward P. J. _Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student._
        3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-19-
        506293-0, hardcover, 600pp., $29.95.

        Highly recommended text for learning the ins and outs of
        expository writing. Includes technical topics such as
        discovering (inventing) material, organizing material,
        stylistic tricks and stunts, exercises, modes of reasoning and
        other methods of persuasion, and examples/analysis of these
        techniques in actual everyday (and formal) use in prose of
        various people ranging from Homer to Dr. Martin Luther King
        Jr. The principles described apply to any kind of prose used
        to persuade and inform an audience. It concentrates mainly on
        the written rather than the spoken word (the typical domain of

    Van Wicklen, Janet. _The Tech Writing Game: A Comprehensive Career
        Guide for Aspiring Technical Writers_ Facts on File Books,
        1992. ISBN 0-8160-2607-6, hardcover, 238pp., $22.95.

        Van Wicklen is a veteran Silicon Valley technical writer, and
        her advice is right on the mark. Even at the hardcover price,
        the book is worth every penny.
            -- <>>

    Yudkin, Marcia. _Freelance Writing for Magazines and Newspapers:
        Breaking in Without Selling Out_. HarperCollins, 1993. ISBN 0-
        06-273278-1, trade paperback, $12.00.

        You can count on a huge return on your investment in
        _Freelance Writing_. I don't think I've ever read a dissection
        of the magazine industry that was as thorough, fair-minded,
        and full of genuinely helpful information. The appendix
        includes a great bibliography of resource books.

    Zinsser, William. _On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing
        Nonfiction._ 6th ed. HarperCollins, 1998. ISBN 0-06-273523-3,
        trade paperback, $14.00.

        Lots of good, basic advice on writing. This book is an
        interesting read as well as being useful.

2.8 Literary Criticism

    McCaffery, Larry. _Across the Wounded Galaxies: Interviews with
        Contemporary American Science Fiction Writers._ Univ. of
        Illinois Press, 1991. ISBN 0-252-06140-3, trade p0-252-06140-
        3, trade paperback, $14.95.

        Larry McCaffery is best known for his criticism of Donald
        Barthelme and other authors of "metafiction," but he has, in
        this book, compiled a stunning collection of interviews with
        some of America's greatest contemporary SF authors, including
        William S. Burroughs, William Gibson, Samuel Delany, Octavia
        Butler, Gene Wolfe, Ursula Le Guin, Bruce Sterling, and Greg
        Benford. These are not fan-oriented interviews, either, but
        involved questions that probe each author's views about his or
        her craft and the state of the art in general.

    Lem, Stanislaw. _Microworlds: Writings on Science Fiction and
        Fantasy._ Harcourt Brace, 1986. ISBN 0-15-659443-9, trade
        paperback, $11.00.

        Lem is probably one of the world's greatest living writers,
        and one of the few SF writers to publish a volume which
        analyzes the field critically. Lem makes many excellent points
        about the state of SF as he saw it when he was writing.

3 Books about the Writing Industry

3.1 Literary Agents and Agencies

    Curtis, Richard. _How to be Your Own Literary Agent: The Business
        of Getting a Book Published._ Revised and expanded ed. Boston:
        Houghton Mifflin, 1996. ISBN 0-395-71819-8, trade paperback,
        257 pp., $13.95.

        This book is necessarily dated -- I think my version is from
        1986, or maybe even 1984 -- but still germane in almost every
        regard. And it isn't dated much; I found virtually all of the
        language he discusses in his point-by-point contract review in
        my own 1991 contract, despite the years that have passed. (And
        was pleased to discover that the one section I'd made my
        publisher delete was one Curtis considered extremely
        disadvantageous.) This book is an absolute must for anyone
        dealing with book publishers, book contracts, and agents.

3.2 Copyright

    Fishman, Stephen. _The Copyright Handbook: How to Protect and Use
        Written Works._ 4th ed. Berkeley, CA: Nolo Press, 1997. ISBN
        0-87337-414-2, paperback (8.5 x 11 inches), 368 pp., $29.95.

        Nolo's order number is (800) 992-6656; (510) 549-1976 for
        information. They're a well-respected if somewhat irreverent
        publisher of legal self-help materials, including some volumes
        that might be relevant to the business side of freelancing and
        contracting. The book claims to discuss international
        copyright law. The further you get from the borders of the US,
        the bigger the grain of salt you should take everythinthe US,
        the bigger the grain of salt you should take everything with,
        of course. _Note: This review refers to the second edition._

3.3 Editing

    Brown, Renni, and Dave King. _Self-editing for Fiction Writers._
        New York: HarperPerennial, 1993. ISBN 0-06-272046-5, trade
        paperback, 226 pp., $13.00.

        Brown and King's summation of all the usual advice is covered
        in the first five or six chapters. The suggestions are made
        well and with excellent examples. The remaining chapters move
        into some areas that are not typically covered in other
        "advice" books. Most interesting was the discussion of "beats"
        -- the stage business of writing; how to handle all of those
        "he said" and "she said" bits between the dialog. A quick
        review of this section, and authors should be able to pinpoint
        and correct any slow or dull sections of their writing. And
        with a little more attention to the rest of the book,
        intermediate writers be able to raise their writing skill to a
        professional level.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Lerner, Betsy. _The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to
        Writers._Riverhead Books (New York): 2000. ISBN 1-57322-857-5,
        trade paperback, 277 pp., $12.00.

        An editor's-eye view of publishing, Lerner's book is both
        informative andheartening. If you've ever tried to get your
        writing published, you alreadyunderstand the value of knowing
        how the other half lives, because once you'veaccumulated a
        stack of rejection slips these publishing houses
        resemblenothing more than black boxes. Well, there is life
        inside the boxes, Lernershows us, and she is frank in
        depicting the pressures and constraints thatturn a group of
        book-lovers into editors.

        The first half of the book, in which Lerner identifies
        personality-types ofwriters she has worked with, stretches on
        a bit long, but in the end hermessage is to persevere if you
        believe you have the need to write (as opposedto fancying
        yourself "a writer"), because no matter how old or messed-up
        youare, someone has always accomplished it in even worse
        shape. Plus you'll geta few laughs along the way.
            -- John Mohler Jr. <>

    Plotnik, Arthur. _The Elements of Editing: A Modern Guide for
        Editors and Journalists._ MacMillan, 1982, 1977. MacMillan,
        1982, 1977. ISBN 0-02-861451-8, trade paperback, 156 pp.,

        Plotnik offers his observations and advice about editing,
        gained from years of experience in the field. He acknowledges
        that most editors are cramming six weeks worth of work into
        four weeks and repeating this accomplishment every four weeks.
        Plotnik describes the life of a manuscript from acquisition to
        publication -- an excellent summary for the novice, and an
        insightful observation to the experienced editor. He lists
        details for often unexplained processes such as registering
        the copyright and seeking permissions. He provides detailed
        information about copyrights and libel giving definitions and
        some situational examples. These provide an excellent resource
        for quick reference on these topics.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Rand, Ken. _The 10% Solution: Self-editing for the Modern Writer._
        Seattle: Fairwood Press, 1998. ISBN 0-9668184-0-7, booklet, 64
        pp., $5.99.

        In _The 10% Solution_, Ken Rand describes his theory for
        improved writing. First, youroved writing. First, you wear two
        hats: the writer's hat and the editor's hat. As a writer, you
        write quickly, without editorial criticism. As the editor, you
        revise and attempt to reduce the word count by 10%.

        Rand lists words and endings you should question in your
        writing. For example, you should examine each time _of_,
        appears and ask if it expresses your idea in the most
        accurate, clear, and brief way. If not, then revise or delete.
        Rand also provides the standard advice to read your prose
        aloud, read them on paper, and have someone else proofread

        Rand's advice is mostly sound, but Fairwood Press should have
        followed Rand's advice and scoured the proofs for numerous
        annoyances, such as widows, inconsistent font sizes, and a
        chapter of bulleted paragraphs. Rand's repeated use of, "More
        on this later," reveals the need to reorganize the material --
        something not covered in Rand's advice.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

4 Magazines about Writing

    P.O. Box 130596
    Edmond, OK 73013

        Every issue features several articles on writing, market
        information, contests, some poetry, one short story, and a
        philosophical end piece. _ByLine_ is as much entertaining as
        enlightening, and even though helping writers sell is a topic,
        encouraging them to sit down and write is one of the primary
        messages. _ByLine_ assumes an intelligent and educated reader,
        willing to do the footworr, willing to do the footwork for an
        article or story. A big plus: _ByLine_ is subscriber paid and
        has no advertisements.

        Subscription rates: $20/year (11 issues, one double issue;
        subscription only, no newsstand sales), sample copy $3.50.

    _Poets & Writers Magazine._

        This magazine full of interviews of authors like Amy Tan and
        John Irving, and includes many articles about creative writing
        and even _teaching_ creative writing. It's aimed at serious
        authors, not the "gee, I wanna write" audience that Writer's
        Digest seems geared towards. There are also copious listings
        of contests, grants, and workshops in the back half of each
        issue. _And_ there's even a helpline for subscribers. Yep,
        call up and get advice on writing/publishing direct from the

        Subscription rates: $20/year (six issues), sample copy $3.50.

    _The Writer._
    _Writer's Digest._

        Most misc.writing contributors find these magazines target
        people who want to be writers rather than people who write. If
        you judge a magazine's intended audience by its advertisers,
        you'll notice that most ads in _Writer's Digest_ promise to
        edit/read/ghost-write/publish your masterpiece for pay; very h
        your masterpiece for pay; very few tell you how to invest your
        enormous royalty income.

        Some of the columns in _Writer's Digest_ are quite good; read
        these in the library.

        Note: The annual _Writer's Digest_ magazine poll often
        contains incorrect information about available markets, what
        these markets want, and where these markets are. A number of
        magazine editors have asked WD to _not_ include them in the
        list of ranked markets. Be aware inclusion or exclusion from
        the list is _not_ an indication of quality or availability.

5 Market Listings and Reports

5.1 General

    _The International Directory of Little Magazines and Small
        Presses: 1998-99._ 34th ed. Paradise, California: Dustbooks,
        1998. ISBN 0-916685-66-7, hardcover, $55.00. ISBN 0-916685-70-
        -5, hardcover, $34.95.

        Called the "bible of the business" by the Wall Street Journal,
        this thing is _huge,_ and full of small and literary markets
        that you won't find in any of the Writer's Digest books.
        Published annually.

    _Publishers Weekly_ <>
    ISSN 0000-0019
    P.O. Box 16178
    North Hollywood, CA 91615-6178
    1 (800) 278-2991, 1 (818) 487-4557

        Expensive; contains useful industry gossip, hot off the
        presses. (I learned about the various suits against Donning
        Press from _PW;_ _Locus_ and _SF Chronicle_ didn't get the
        story until a month later.) Skim it in your library. The book
        reviews can help you get a handle on what your competition is
        up to.

        Subscription rate: $169.00/year. Email:

    _Small Press Review_
    ISSN 0037-7228
    Dustbooks <>
    P.O. Box 100
    Paradise, CA 95967
    1 (800) 477-6110, 1 (530) 877-6110

        Small Press Review is a newsprint magazine with news on the
        small press and small magazine industry including start-ups. A
        typical issueincluding start-ups. A typical issue includes
        listings of new publishers with contact info, freelance job
        opportunities, contest information, and reviews of recent
        small press books and magazines.

        Subscription rate: Individuals, $25 (12 issues), $36 (36
        issues); institutions: $31 (12 issues), $45 (36 issues).

    Writer's Market Series

    _2000 Writer's Market: Where and How to Sell What you Write._ Eds.
        Kirsten C. Holm, Donya Dickerson, and Don Prues. Cincinnati,
        Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 1999. ISBN 0-89879-911-2,
        hardcover, 1120 pp., $27.99.

    _1999 Novel and Short Story Writer's Market: Where and How to Sell
        Your Fiction._ Ed. Barbara Kuroff. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's
        Digest Books, 1999. ISBN 0-89879-876-0, hardcover, 678 pp.,

    _2000 Poet's Market: Where and How to Publish Your Poetry._ Eds.
        Christine Martin and Chantelle Bentley. Cincinnati, Ohio:
        Writer's Digest Books, 1999. ISBN 0-89879-915-5, hardcover,
        608 pp., $23.99.

        Most public libraries have these books. You can buy a copy
        more cheaply by joining the Writer's Digest Book Club; see
        _Writer's Digest_ magazine for a blow-in card. Be sure to use
        the latest available edition! The publishing industry is a
        giant amoeba; not only do publishers' needs change, but
        editors change employment as frequently as Warren Beatty. . .
        Well, you get the idea. If you can, check the listed editor's
        name against another source (a friend at the publishing house,
        the masthead of the magazine) before submitting.

5.2 Children's Fiction

    _Society for Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Newsletter_
    Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators
    8271 Beverly Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90048 1 (323) 782-1010

        The "SCBWI Bulletin" is a bimonthly publication containing
        comprehensive and current information in the field of
        children's literature. Features include the latest market
        reports, articles on issues in writing, illustrating, and
        publishing, information on contests and awards, reports of
        events in the field, news of SCBWI members, as well as
        information about ongoing SCBWI activities throughout the
        country. The "Bulletin" is an invaluable source of information
        and inspiration to writers and illustrators of children's
        literature. Each SCBWI region also publishes its own
        newsletter with both national and regional news. You can
        obtain a membership application form from the SCBWI web site.

        Subscription rate: $50/year, included in membership fees.
        Email: <>.

    _Children's Book Insider_
    P.O. Box 1030
    Fairplay, CO 80440-1030

        The Children's Book Insider sponsors The Children's Writing
        Resource Center <>.

        Subscription rate: $29.95/year, 12 issues.

5.3 Genre Fiction

    _Gila Queen's Guide to Markets_ <>
    Kathy Ptacek, editor
    P.O. Box 97
    Newton, NJ 07860

        The _Gila Queen's Guide to Markets_ has annual issues on
        sf/f/h, romance, mystery/suspense, children/YA markets.


        Subscription rate: $45/year, 10 issues ($49 Canada); Sample
        copy $6.00. Make checks payable in US funds to Kathryn Ptacek.
        Email: <> or

    Locus Publications
    P.O. Box 13305
    Oakland, CA 94661

        A better source of industry gossip than _SF Chronicle;_ I
        suspect a working SF writer could live without it, though.
        Richard Curtis's industry column has ended, removing one good
        reason to subscribe.^ Locus also prints market reports, but
        these are done irregularly, and tend to have a "theme", such
        as pro market or book publisher or small press. Locus prints
        updates as available.

        Subscription rate: $35.00/year.

    _The Report_
    Pulphouse Publishing
    Box 1227
    Eugene, OR 97440

        Pulphouse's blurb says, "a writer's magazine, filled with
        writers talking about all aspects of writing." Primarily for
        people interested in speculative fiction (SF, fantasy,
        horror). Comes out more-or-less quarterly.

        Subscription rates: $2.95/copy, $10.00/four issues.

    _Scavenger's Newsletter_
    Janet Fox, editor
    519 Ellinwood
    Osage City, KS 66523-1329
    1 (913) 528-3538

        "This little zine focuses on market information, covering, in
        the current issue, 91 magazines and fanzines" (SFWA

        Subscription rates: Bulk mailing with advertising flyers
        $14/year or $7/6 months; 1st class mail without advertising
        flyers $18/year or $9/6 months.

    _Science Fiction Chronicle_
    P.O. Box 2730
    Brooklyn, NY 11202-0056

        Has quarterly Market Report sections. Useful source of
        information on new theme anthology, semipro magazines and
        other non-obvious markets, and editor shifts.

        Subscription rate: $30/year.

    _SFWA Bulletin_ <>
    1436 Altamant Ave
    PMB 292
    Schenectady, NY 12303-2977

        The quarterly publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy
        Writers of America <>.

        Subscription rate: $18/4 issues, $30/8 issues, $iption rate:
        $18/4 issues, $30/8 issues, $42/12 issues. Sample copy $3.95.
        Make checks payable in US funds to SFWA Bulletin.

    Tompkins, David G. _The Science Fiction Writer's Market Place and
        Sourcebook._ Writer's Digest Books, 1994. ISBN 0-89879-692-X,
        hardcover, 494 pp., $19.99.

        The essential market reference for writers of speculative
        fiction; this book tells everything you need to know to turn a
        saleable manuscript into a sale. One hundred seventy pages of
        magazine markets; three to five pages given to each major
        magazine and a page each for secondary markets. Eighty pages
        on novel markets; three to five pages each to the dozen major
        novel publishers, focusing on what editors want, how they
        think, and what basic strategy each publisher uses. Other
        sections include: trends in sf, craft and technique, how to
        get an agent, the editorial process, and a long list of other
        resources. The latter includes a complete list of Hugo and
        Nebula awards, sf bookstores, organizations, conventions,
        workshops, online references, pointers on other sources of up-
        to-date market information, and much more.
            -- Alexander von Thorn <>

6 References of Interest to Writers

6.1 Style Guides

    _The Chicago Manual of Style._ 14th ed. Chicago: University of
        Chicago Press, 1993. ISBN 0-226-10389-7, hardcover, 921 pp.,

        One of the most comprehensive style guides available. With the
        14th edition, the editors at the University of Chicago press
        got down off their high horse. Most sections have been
        rewritten and are much clearer than in previous editions. Many
        sections have been expanded, especially the sections on
        documentation (citing references): there are now two separate
        chapters, one for the author-date method, and another for the
        notes and bibliography method. As always, _Chicago_ has
        several excellent primers on manuscript preparation, editing,
        and printing.
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

6.2 Grammar and Usage

    Bierce, Ambrose. _Write It Write: A Little Blacklise of Literary
        Faults._ Toluca Lake, California: Terripam, 1986. ISBN 0-
        9617270-0-4, hardcover, 74 pp., $12.95.

        A short, dictionary-style guide to word usage that reminds
        readers to carefully consider the meaning of the words one
        uses and to choose the precise meaning one wants. Although
        this might have been a good guide to follow at the end of the
        19th Century, today this guide does little more than
        illustrate that the English language really does evolve. For
        example, Bierce labels the use of _pants_ as vulgar and
        recommends _trousers_ at the acceptable alternative.

        I would not recommend this book to any looking for a modern
        usage guide. In fact, I don't see a good reason to recommend
        _Write it Write_, except to linguists studying changes in
            -- Terry L Jeffress <>

    Fowler, Henry Watson. _Modern English Usage._ 2nd Revised ed.
        Oxford University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-192-81389-7, trade
        paperback, 725 pp., $12.95.

        You either love this one or you hate it. A period piece,
        written by an Englishman immediately after the Great War.

    Maggio, Rosalie. _The Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage: A Guide to
        Nondiscriminatory Language._ Oryx Press, 1991. ISBN 0-89774-
        653-8, trade paperback, 304 pp., $29.75.

        Looks like a good starting place for decisions about some
        issues in language.

    Miller, Casey, and Kate Swift. _The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing
        (For Writers, Editors, and Speakers)._ 2nd ed. HarperCollins,
        1988. ISBN 0-06-181602-7, softcover.

        Offers both general guidelines and many helpful examples.

    Strunk and White (and Osgood). _The Elements of Style._ 4th ed.
        Allyn & Bacon, 1999. ISBN 0-205-30902-X, paperback, 85 pp.,

        The classic that can change your life. _Not_ a general
        reference manual.

7 Acknowledgements

    Many of the unattributed reviews are probably by Laurie Sefton,
    the original compiler. My thanks go out to Erin and all other
    previous maintainers for their hours of work. Also thanks to those
    who sent the occasional correction.

8 Copyright and Acceptable Use Statement

    The misc.writing community started this list to help people find
    resources for becoming better writers. In that spirit, feel free
    to copy this list to any archive or other online resource as long
    as you (1) keep the list intact with no modifications, (2) e-mail
    me the URL or other reference pointing to where you will be
    storing the list, and (3) don't sell or make a profit from this
    list (e.g. a CR-ROM of FAQs). For all other uses, please contact
    me by e-mail at <>.

Copyright (c) 1996 - 2002 Terry L Jeffress


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