Unlike Elizabeth Yates' more personal essay, Someday You'll Write (1962), this is a short, straightforward handbook for the would-be author. Successive chapters discuss the basic elements of the short story -- point of view, dialogue, the ""necessary scene,"" etc. -- and suggest ways to avoid some of the common pitfalls that plague beginners. However, there is one important objection to this approach; despite the initial disclaimer that "". . . no one can really teach anyone else how to write a story"" the devices of the formula short story are often presented as absolutes. Plagemann's direct manner makes his book a welcome corrective to Mrs. Yates' effusive tone -- if, indeed, there is a need or valid justification for this type of advice for junior Famous Writers.