By Jack M. Bickham

The writer diagnoses and treats the main often made blunders via writers of fiction. The booklet comprises guidance, methods, and strategies to permit the aspiring author to rectify those error.

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Baloney! • Come down to earth! That's where the readers are. 3. your specialized knowledge may be a gold mine you can use as background for your stories. Fiction readers love learning about new things as they read a good stow. If you have a rich and extensive vocabulary, that may also prove to be a useful tool. Or if you happen to be a widely read person, or more cultured and schooled in the arts than the average citizen, this too may help you when you write your fiction. But just as a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, too much erudition may be fatal to your fiction if you succumb to the temptation to show it off.

In a psychological story about a man assailed by self-doubt and uncertainty, he will realize that he has a problem and see a doctor or take a pill or discuss it with a friend or write a letter or do something. every story is the record of a quest. An active character worth writing about will form some goal, based on his plight and his motives. He will work toward that goal, not sit back passively. his active selection of a goal will be picked up by the reader and used as a basis for suspense. and then begin worrying about it!

Will be dumb compared to you? • Do you revel in Proust, adore T. S. Eliot, think there has never been a really great American novelist, and sneer at everything in the popular magazines and the best-sellers lists? If so, I congratulate you on your self-satisfaction, but warn you that such smug condescension will be the death of you as a writer; at best you'll one day publish obscure little short stories in giveaway magazines for other small-college English teachers like yourself, at worst, on your death bed, you'll whisper to your sister the location of your hidden treasure trove of unpublished fiction, and breathe your last in the vain hope that future generations will revere you like they now do Emily Dickinson.

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