Beginning Writer's Answer Book
30th Anniversary Edition
Edited by Jane Friedman
Writer's Digest Books, (2006) Standard Print Edition
Genre: Writing & Publishing
Reviewed by Auggie Moore - November 20, 2006
For thirty years, the Beginning Writer's Answer Book has been the essential reference guide for novice writers. At last, this marvelous book has been completely revised, updated and reissued in the form of a 30th Anniversary Edition that has been edited by Jane Friedman. This text includes a brief introduction to the writer's life and covers just about everything from how to tell if you have 'what it takes' to be a writer to an introduction on copyrights.
The text follows a question and answer format, with answers to 1,000 commonly asked questions by both fiction and nonfiction beginning writers. The questions are organized into twenty-nine thematic chapters, covering such diverse topics as business know-how and revising your work to writing for newspapers and the hows and whys of the rejection slip.
In addition to the questions and answers, the Beginning Writer's Answer Book also provides a brief bibliography at the end of each section that lists a handful of books in which you can find additional information on each topic covered. Following some topics, a list of related Internet web sites is also provided. This book also includes a useful appendix that includes a wealth of information, including descriptions of common fiction genres, word-count guidelines, sample query letters, and manuscript layout. You'll also find a complete list of all the questions answered in the book. For trivia buffs and nostalgic writers, this new edition of the Beginning Writer's Answer Book also includes some 'dated' questions from previous editions. These Flashback Questions deal with such innovative items as making photostats and the patron saint of writers. It is St. Francis de Sales, by the way.
Both complete novices and those that have already embarked upon their writing careers will find a wealth of information in this invaluable text. The book can be read straight through, or used as a reference guide that you can refer to for answers to specific questions. It answers a lot of basic questions, provides guidance that will help prevent you from making some common mistakes, and most important, it will help you toward your goal of becoming a published writer.