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Hereford Eye
April 4th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Ordinarily, this information would belong in the Writer's Wrting Resourcves thread, but I think there is another point to be made. Here is a selection of books - none of which have I read - being offered this month by the Scientific American Book Club:

a. Putting Your Passion Into Print, Arielle Eckstut & Henry Sterry
b. Writing Fiction, The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Writing School by the Gotham
Writer’s Workshop faculty, edited by Alexander Steele
c. The Elements of Style Illustrated, William Strunk Jr and E.B. White
d. The Weekend Novelist Revised and Updated Edition, Robert J. Ray & Bret Norris
e. A Grammar Book for You and I (…Oops, Me!) , C. Edward Good
f. No Plot? No problem! A Low Stress High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days, Chris Baty
g. Comma Sense, A Fun-Damental Guide to Punctuation, Richard Lederer and John Shore
h. EveryDay TM English Handbook, Leonard Rosen
i. Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life, Edited by Barnaby Conrad & Monte Schulz
j. How Not to Write, The Essential Misrules of Grammar, William Safire

Information gleaned from the brochure blurbs.
Holbrook and I need to read a. as it “…will teach you everything from devising a winning plot to landing an agent and publisher…..”
The second, b., is from America’s leading private creative writing school. Since I have never heard of this school, I wonder who they claim as graduates?
c. Well, Strunk & White have been in the style business for a while now but illustrated?
d. Weekend novelist “…will take you through the entire writing process in only 52 weekends.”
e. Grammar Book blurb: “All you need to master writing and speech. It’s a sad fact, but college professors and employers regularly cringe at the lack of writing skills displayed by their students and employees.” Some cringe at the wording of this blurb.
f. No Plot? “…offers tips, tricks, and strategies for pumping out a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days.”
g. Comma Sense author Lederer has always tickled me with his Anguished English series.
h. EveryDayTM offers “…everything you need to write effective letters, memos and reports.”
i. Snoopy’s Guide: “30 of the most popular storytellers, and a very famous dog, offer advice on writing…”
j. How Not to Write – Safire is a wordsmith, for certain, and in this book he is “wickedly witty.”

Since I question the value of these works without having read them, I wonder if any of you have read them and can therefore correct my assumptions about the value of these works.

April 4th, 2006, 03:16 PM
I have heard the unillustrated version of c is good.

Ha? I need a do I, or do we?? Question; are the writers of it writers of best selling fiction? Hmmm a quick google convinces me otherwise....

April 4th, 2006, 03:54 PM
Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life?

Step one: Find your old trusted type writer.

Step two: Sit on top of your roof.

Step three: Type: "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Writer's Block? Think of the bunny-wunnies. How can you not be inspired by the bunny-wunnies?

Could be a fun read. Useful? *Shrug*


I never liked Strunk & White. They pretend to write about the elements of style, but instead promote their favourite. Sneaky they are.

The book's not bad for what they say, it's bad for what it fails to mention.

Well, to be fair, it's not bad. It's just... overrated.

April 4th, 2006, 04:12 PM
Style manuals and grammar guides are all well and good, but there is a good bit of this sort of stuff free online--obviously of varying quality, as is everything else online, but why pay for it?

According to www.writingclasses.com, the Gotham Writer's Workshop's site, the science fiction faculty are: (1) Marta Randall, author of numerous science fiction novels, including Nebula Award nominated Islands, Journey, Dangerous Games, The Sword of Winter, and Growing Light, and ex-vice-president and president of the Science Fiction Writers of America; and, (2) Michaela Roessner, author of four (unnamed) science fiction novels and assorted short fiction. There is no "fantasy writing" faculty per se. (*Shrug.* My knowledge of SF is pretty much limited to Herbert, Azimov, and Bradbury . . . .)

The website claims 6,000+ students each year. There are a number of quotes from students but none have names that I can identify as being published. All in all, it looks like a legit outfit, but that's not saying that their writing workshop is worth the dime. Maybe something like this is best bought by browsing in a bricks-n-mortar??

Hereford Eye
April 4th, 2006, 05:25 PM
Ha? I need a do I, or do we?? ..
How much time have we devoted to finding an agent or publisher? Here is someone who claims they can guide us through the maze to total success. How can we ignore advice such as that?:rolleyes:

April 4th, 2006, 05:44 PM
I took a Gotham Workshop class when I lived in NYC. You pay some money, forgot how much, but nothing too ridiculous, and there were about eight or ten weeks of classes. There are writing exercises and such, and each student submits three stories. This was not a fantasy class, but just a regular ole fiction workshop. Some of the students were good, some were not, but it was harmless and somewhat educational. It wasn't as good as the workshops I took as an undergrad, but it wasn't nearly as bitchy an atmosphere either. In fact, I was the lead bitch, and I'm pretty nice.


April 5th, 2006, 04:37 AM
f. No Plot? No problem! A Low Stress High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days, Chris Baty

I've heard of this one as Baty is the one who runs NaNoWriMo. I always thought it was just for people who wanted to do a little extra reading in preparation for NaNo, really. :p

April 5th, 2006, 05:50 PM
I look for books on writing at my local library. Sometimes in the bookstore.

April 6th, 2006, 01:45 PM
Gotham is a big writers workshop operation that rose to prominence over the last few years. Because it's located in NYC, publishing mecca, they've been able to have pub pros involved, and some big name authors. Whether that means they're any good or not, I couldn't tell you. But buying their book would be cheaper than trying to take one of their classes, probably.

Strunk & White are good for basic guidelines and it's short.

What freaks me out is that the Scientific American book club has this many books on writing fiction.