How to Write: Advice and Reflections

Richard Rhodes, Author William Morrow & Company $23 (229p) ISBN 978-0-688-14095-3
Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb) has enjoyed a long career as a magazine writer and as an author, mainly of verity--his preferred term for nonfiction--but also of some (less heralded) novels. This book has the virtues and defects of a long chat at Rhodes's table: the author offers worthy encouragement for fighting psychological barriers, and useful advice on tools and research. His discussion of voice and structure, though aimed at both writers of fiction and writers of verity, is a bit sketchy for fictioneers. Similarly, while his guidance on writing magazine articles is interesting, his take on the business of writing--after the usual caveats regarding its difficulty--relies a bit much on his happy war stories. Most useful, and unusual in books of this genre, is the author's textured account of the editing process, including his own blow-by-reworked-blow example of an essay-in-the-making. This isn't quite a comprehensive guide but an encouraging companion, especially for those familiar with Rhodes's work. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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