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on 25 March 2017
There is no better book on writing ever . topics 4 types of writing styles.accessing the unconscious mind . confidence in writing. There is no magic to writing besides discipline and commitment.
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on 21 November 2014
I had put off buying this book for a while just because of the price. But now I've bought it, I don't regret it one bit and will read it again and again, I'm sure.
Dorothea Brande has a no-nonsense style which I really enjoyed. There are so many exercises and advice that are unique to this book. You may have read some of the advice before, but remember this book was published in the 1930s so chances are the others are imitations.
She tells you in no uncertain terms that if you can't stick to the time schedule of the initial exercises then you might as well give up writing. It is so refreshing to hear real advice like this rather than the usual wishy-washy just-call-yourself-a-writer dumbed down advice. Give me Dorothea Brande any day.
I am now well aware of the commitment it will take to improve my writing and I have a far better idea of what I'd been missing all this time. I wish I hadn't put off buying into the "writers' magic" for so long.
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VINE VOICEon 25 January 2014
This is quintessentially pre WW2 in it's approach, having been first published in 1936. The writing will, therefore, seem quite dated to the modern reader. However, this gem is still full of good advice for us as writers today. This is not a book telling you how to write a bestseller, but one which encourages you to write in different ways and to use your innate talents as a writer. It talks about how to get yourself into the frame of mind for writing, using a lot of techniques that today we know as NLP. This is the only book I have come across which uses these techniques to develop as a writer and, as such it fascinates me. There are some very useful exercises in this book. I have used some of them and certainly intend to use others. These help the writer to look at themselves, and the world around them, in a different way. They help to focus your mind and get down to being the best writer you can be.

Although esoteric I would certainly recommend this book for anyone who is beginning their journey as a writer. However, I am sure most experienced writers would also find it interesting.
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on 26 May 2010
Initially, I purchased this book simply because it was recommended to me by an author I respect dearly.

It tells nothing of the technicalities for creating outlines, characters, or anything of that nature. The author makes this fully clear at the beginning, and tells you to look elsewhere for that advice. It does, however, deal with how to tap into your own natural talents as a priority; how to be yourself instead of an imitator of others methods and styles, and how to appropriately critique the works of others to help you identify with your own natural skills.

For a book that was written so early in the last century, it still holds a tremendous relevance, and I'm so glad I was pointed in this direction so early in my desire to learn the craft. I'm sure the more advanced author would have found their road less challenged if they had this book earlier too. If you're an existing writer suffering writer's block - this book explains how to avoid and release it.

It may come across as simplistic. There are times when keeping it simple is most certainly the best way, so please persevere and take on board the recommendations and comments.

I had promised to pass on my copy to a professional colleague, though as I progressed in the reading, I knew I wouldn't be able to part with it, so I gifted a copy of their own to them instead. So I would certainly recommend this to anyone as the best place to start if you're feeling that you've something to write/say.
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on 11 April 2018
Every writer and budding writers should have a copy of this book. It is the book I have to read everyday. Very inspiring, and for a little book it has a lot to offer. I like the simple exercises it suggests to 'teach' the unconscious mind.
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on 26 October 2010
As a journalist, I was extremely sceptical when a friend recommended this book to me. Previously, I had always sneered at 'how to' books, believing that if you needed to read about how to write a book, you probably didn't have much talent in the first place and should probably spare the world from yet another mediocre offering. How wrong I was. This book, which was written in 1934, isn't really a 'How To' manual at all and it's so fresh and relevant that it could have been written last week. Dorothea Brande is fantastic. She completely understands the mind of a writer and approachs the whole subject from a hitherto (for me) unique standpoint: she studies the psychology of the would-be author and gives incredibly useful exercises to do along with all sorts of clever little tricks and psychological techniques to try. She doesn't make you do any of those boring essays or practice synopses; she really gets down to the nitty gritty: the fear of the blank page/screen and how to keep going once started. I can not recommend this book highly enough. It should be required reading on every adult education centres' creative writing course. As long as a writer has this book, they will never suffer writer's block again. The fact that it has been reissued as often as it has - highly unusual for a self-help book - speaks volumes. Try to get your hands on one of the editions which has a foreword by John Braine. Indispensible for the aspiring and established author alike.
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on 17 October 2013
Imagine a great aunt who likes the odd nip of whisky and who talks with cheeky southern drawl. She sits you down when you tell her you want to be a writer and she says, "Well kiddo, it's like this..."

It's worth the cover price just for the pendulum exercise to see how easy it is to influence your mind for good or bad. Some of the other wisdom, like getting out of your own way, are found in modern books like the Artist's Way, but they're simply not as much fun! A far better and shorter book than many of the other modern tomes of theory, characters or openings that litter my shelves.
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on 6 August 2014
it takes a little while to get into the style of writing (1924) but there's lots of practical suggestions to adjust your mindset BEFORE you start writing - many new writers skip over this preparation and pay the price later.

An easy read - one afternoon.
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on 9 September 2012
This book was written a very long time ago and I wondered about its relevance today. I went on previous reviews and decided to buy it, after all it was inexpensive (I've paid more for a glossy magazine) so I reckoned if it wasn't any use to me I hadn't lost much. I'm glad I bought it. It is written simply and quite charmingly and its message is as relevant today as it was in the 1930s. Will it make me become a great writer? No. Does it hold the secret of success? No. What it does do is to paint a realistic picture of the world of the writer and, importantly, the challenges of the new/wannabe writer. This little book is, for me, quite simply a gem.
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on 28 September 2009
Although this book was written so long ago, many of its inspirational ideas are still relevant. In fact, many of Ms Brande's exercises and ways of "being a writer" have been copied by more up to date bestsellers. She teaches the reader to "see" and "explore" rather than technique or style. I would recommend this book for someone new to the idea of writing or someone who feels stuck and needs some inspirational direction. She is firm with her readers on discipline and practise, or, they may as well realise they will never become writers. She is uncompromising on this. Otherwise she presents ideas that, in her day, would have been radical. Well worth a read.
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