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The Writer's Guide to Places Paperback – 26 Dec 2002


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More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Don Prues is co-author of Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript, and his work has appeared in The New York Post, Parent Magazine, and Sagetreib. Jack Heffron is the former Editrial Director for Writer's Digest Books.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
One of the most common adages for the fiction writer is "write what you know." 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 on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Skip it 5 July 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Writer's Digest comes out with a lot of helpful books, but this one isn't one of them. I'm glad the book description here explains that the book only covers the United States and Canada. In the Writer's Digest ads, it doesn't. So if you want to set a story in Venice or Cairo, you'll get no help.
A lot of the information the book does have seems more appropriate for a rather unexciting history book about the states than something that helps create a setting. I don't see myself writing anything where a character says "Virginia is the second largest seafood processor in the nation" or "The Pennsylvania Turnpike was begun in 1940 and completed in 1956." If this is the kind of information you need, it's available on the internet.
There does seem to be some helpful information about some cities that would tell you which neighborhood your character would live in if he's rich or middle class. However, after looking at information that I know a bit about, there's a lot that's wrong or out of date. For example, the book describes New York City's "Hell's Kitchen" as bombed out and full of gangs when actually it's gentrified to the point that realtors have renamed it Clinton and it's pretty upmarket. On the other hand, the book says Houston's Sharpstown is a good place to raise a family. Nope, it's dangerous to the point that people are warned not to go to the mall. It makes one wonder what one can trust in this book.
I might still use this book to help me find information elsewhere about settings. But since there are no international settings (except Canada) and the internet is going to be more current, I don't think I'll use it much.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Seemed like a good idea at the time 19 July 2004
By K. McLeod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a good idea;a guide that lists both the chamber of commerce facts (like "the city was founded in...") and great local information (where to hang out, what the neighborhoods are like). What a shame the author has clearly never been to some of these places and that much of the information is wildly inaccurate. The Jacksonville [Florida] section for example lists Orange Park as a family oriented suburb, yet makes no mention at all of one of the main drivers of the local economy, Dog Racing at the big track on Kingsley. That's like describing Elmont, NY and not mentioning that little Triple Crown/Belmont Stakes thing. And imagine my horror on reading the Los Angeles [California] section, which tells me that my cute San Pedro home is like a third-world country! That will be news to the Mayor of LA, who also lives here, and to the literally dozens of movie and TV shoots that happen in San Pedro every year. I shudder to think of the thousands of copies of this "guide" out there being used as reference, with people assuming that the information is correct, just because it's in a book. It just goes to show you, there's no substitute for real research.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Don't waste your time or money 27 Jan. 2006
By Lou Novacheck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Writer's Guide to Places by Don Prues & Jack Heffron

I bought this book for obvious reasons suggested by the title. I should have read the previous buyers' reviews first!

The first thing I did when I received it was to compare the cities covered with places I've lived. For Honolulu and Oahu, for instance, no mention is made of the palaces, the Bishop Museum, the Pali, Diamond Head Park, the North Shore, Haleiwa, Sunset Beach, Sandy Beach, the Blow Hole, Mokuleiea, Valley of the Temples, Fort Shafter, Tripler Medical Center and maybe another hundred places that are all part of the very fabric of the place, even part of the air one breathes on Oahu.

I could go on for pages, but I won't. I did, however, check the other areas where I've previously lived and the same applies as the Honolulu comparison. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington DC and Milwaukee are just as pathetic and outdated in their coverage.

Don't waste your money!

Lou Novacheck
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Ugh! 10 Aug. 2006
By Rebecca Vining - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What a complete waste of time. If you just have to see what this volume has to offer, save your hard earned money and get it from the library.

As other reviewers have noted, it only has info on the 50 states and a few Canadian provinces. Not only that, but after reviewing cities listed that I have lived in or spent much time in, there was incorrect and misleading info. I wouldn't dare trust this as reference.

Do yourself a favor and just get a guidebook to the location and check out the local websites as well.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Too many errors 31 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great idea for a book... but it'll only work if the information is accurate. I found numerous mistakes in the section on Canada. Some information was outdated (by years!); some other things were just plain wrong. According to one of the maps, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia now sit on an isolated island. That's news to me! If this is indicative of the research done by the authors, I would be wary of using any of the information in the book.
I would say that if you want to use "Writer's Guide to Places," use it with caution. Decide on the setting for your story and use this book as a starting point... but do LOTS more research yourself before you start to write.
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