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Becoming a Writer Paperback – 1 Jan 1981


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jeremy P Tarcher (1 Jan. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874771641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874771640
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Refreshingly slim, beautifully written and deliciously elegant, Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer remains evergreen decades after it was first written. Brande believed passionately that although people have varying amounts of talent, anyone can write. It's just a question of finding the "writer's magic"--a degree of which is in us all. She also insists that writing can be both taught and learned. So she is enraged by the pessimistic authors of so many writing books who rejoice in trying to put off the aspiring writer by constantly stressing how difficult it all is.

With close reference to the great writers of her day--Wolfe, Forster, Wharton and so on--Brande gives practical but inspirational advice about finding the right time of day to write and being very self disciplined about it--"You have decided to write at four o'clock, and at four o'clock you must write." She's strong on confidence building and there's a lot about cheating your unconscious which will constantly try to stop you writing by coming up with excuses. Then there are exercises to help you get into the right frame of mind and to build up writing stamina.

This edition comes with an informative foreword by the late Malcolm Bradbury, a man who knew a thing or two about teaching writing, having pioneered the innovative MA course in creative writing at the University of East Anglia which nurtured, among many other writers, Rose Tremain, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro. It's a pity, however, that Brande (and Bradbury) define "writing" so narrowly. They refer only to novels and short stories--ignoring biography, travel writing, plays, poems, essays and reportage. In fact, Brande is unreasonably dismissive of journalism as if it were just an uncreative, prostituted form of "real" writing. --Susan Elkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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So, having made my apologies, and stated my belief, I am going, from now on, to address myself solely to those who hope to write. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Rp Garner on 11 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
I can't believe I'm the first person to reivew this book which has to be one of the best known and best loved of all 'how to' books ever written. It does not tell you how to write - it tells you how to become a writer and it's probably best to read it before you start writing. It tells you how to balance your writing life with the rest of your life, and how to keep your editorial self and your creative self working in harmony. It gives you exercises to develop the writing habit and, quite early on, it does something so brave, I've not seen it repeated in any other guide. It tells you, if you can't manage the exercises, to stop.
"If you fail repeatedly at this exercise, give up writing. Your resistance is actually greater than your desire to write, and you may as well find some other outlet for your energy early as late."
Right, now why was that so refreshing? Becuase she wrote it in 1934 and we're no longer used to such straight talking. Almost makes you feel like a grown up.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
I have been a published writer for eight years, and I must have read a mountain of books on writing. Dorothea Brande's book is without any question the most helpful of them all.
I would go as far as saying it is the ONLY book that has made any real impact on my work. If you have always wanted to be a writer but have lacked a certain confidence, or energy, read this book. If you are already a successful writer but find your work a stuggle, read this book.
Dorothea Brande is a very clever woman who shows in her book an unmatched understanding of the psychology of a writer - and uses this understanding to expertly encouage the reader's development. A strict but nurturing teacher, many great writers have and will benefit from her work.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sam J. Ruddock on 12 April 2007
Format: Paperback
This book will not tell you how to write a great novel. Nor the secrets to plot and character development. What this book will do is help you make the most of those tendencies that impel you to want to write. Written in the 1920's and still popular now, this is a vital tool for those wanting to enhance whatever compulsion to write that they already possess. Buy this book and begin to write. You never know where it will get you. And never, ever, let technical quandries mire your creative spirit.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 July 1999
Format: Paperback
This was written in the 1930s. O.K. let that put you off if you want...but you'll be missing out - because it's a sure bet that all the modern writers telling you how to be inspired from within have got their ideas from Dorothea Brande. It's padded out (but doesn't actually lose a lot through this), and it shows its age (But only through talk of typewriters 'stead of compies). This is the true writer's bible - because it tells you how to FIND your writers instinct. And if you've always longed to write, then you've probably already got it and will be much pleased with yourself! - if not, get it out now with this book! I'm not sure if it would be all that suitable for those who are already writing, but it's certainement a must for aspiring writers. If you believe you're already a writer, but have never written anything (or anything decent), or even if you haven't reached this first stage of ACTING like a writer yet, get this book!! This is the first stage to BECOMING a real, true writer, GET THE TECHNICAL BOOKS LATER. I dip in for inspiration - and I adore being a writer all the more for it.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
If you want to write but are not sure what to write about, this is the book for you. It helps you get into the habit of effortless daily writing and, at the same time, discover what you need to write about. It also teaches the trick to make the words rush to your pen: wordless recreation. Read this one before entering a writing class or reading books on technique and style.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Aude Noughty on 13 April 2006
Format: Paperback
There is only one guide on how to become a fully fledged writer of fiction and this is it. The rest are footnotes. First published in 1934, it is still published because it works. Many have used it, some have plagiarised it (the Artist's Way being chief among suspects) none have bettered it. There's only one book that can help the budding author as much and that is McKee's "Story".
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By George Clark on 11 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
Dorothea Brande's 1934 classic best-seller is about how to harness 'flow' as this is the key to great writing. She suggests thinking of yourself in two forms as conscious and unconscious. Both aspects of the self have to be trained and made to work in harmony. She is very hard nosed about the touch feely bits. As a starter she recommends waking half an hour before normal and writing whatever comes into your head. Keep this up for a month and then use rational consciousness to analyse the outputs and see what themes are in your unconscious mind. Another early technique is to set a time each day when you will write and then write at that time - without fail. This helps rob the unconscious of its pretensions to having 'moods' and thus not being able to perform as the need demands. She suggests that if you cannot stick with these routines then you may as well give up the quest to be an author of note. Those who do stick with it, however, are likely to develop an endless source of effortless, imaginative and good quality prose.
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