A FICTION WRITER'S HANDBOOK by Hallie & Whit Burnett


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Just last week we overheard a certain writer's confession that he had come to fiction only after being told that it would require a minimum of fifteen years to become a decent painter. Thus, those mountains of manuscripts that circulate from publisher to publisher with a growing burden of rejection slips; thus, the audience of eager non-writers for how-to-write-a-quick-novel handbooks like this, not to mention the Famous Writers shuck. Which is not to impute wrong intentions to Hallie Burnett, who wrote this from the notes of late husband Whit. Their Story magazine first published such luminaries as Heller, Tennessee Williams, McCullers, Capote, Mailer and Salinger (the last two mentioned provide, respectively, a foreword and an epilogue). But all these anecdotes and epigrams about ""Why Write?"" and the ""footlight sense,"" the short story (""a love affair""), the novel (""a commitment""), science fiction and the novella, plus a basic reading list, aren't likely to transform a sow's ear into a literary genius. If you insist on flipping through one of these for inspiration when the muse won't come, better Scott Meredith's frankly commercial Writing to Sell (1974).

Pub Date: June 1st, 1975
Publisher: Harper & Row