In this nicely conceived manual assembled for the apprentice-writer and his teacher, Horgan warns that ""a book is a vulnerable affair"" which can only be saved in the initial stages by a ""precisely appropriate form"" pursued through steady labor. Only then does it have a chance. Otherwise anxiety and the book's impending extinction. Horgan runs down the vicissitudes in a brief opening discussion and then switches pace in a larger section of 408 notebook entries that theorize on process, mode and vision. The book's a little heavy on these, particularly the not infrequent banalities that are still and all balanced by a fair sampling of jottings (""The true writer is always at work, even when he does not know it""; ""Memory invents more than it remembers""). Next a memoir about Horgan's own genesis as a writer -- a quite charming story about a contralto, Madame Marguerite D'Alvarez, who unknowingly inspired Horgan's first attempt at fiction. Overall, then, this is a personalized, unpedantic, written-for-the-writer-by-the-writer addition to the usual writer's workshop paltry syllabus.