The Writer's Rules: The Power of Positive Prose--How to Create It and Get It Published

Helen Gurley Brown, Author William Morrow & Company $22.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-688-15906-1

Drawing on her experience as Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief for three decades, Brown begins this mish-mash with 50 rules to help writers turn out clear, succinct, lively prose. Many of her rules are borrowed or adapted from Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style, as she freely admits; some rules are questionable generalizations (""Place the most important words at the sentence's end""), and at times her advice is simplistic nonsense (""Make your first sentence and whole lead paragraph as clever as possible...""). Next she offers sensible if familiar advice on how to get magazine articles or books published, along with sample proposals. She shamelessly pads this perfunctory primer with sample resumes and job application letters, plus pointers on writing love letters, fan letters, condolence and thank-you letters. Ironically, her prose is pockmarked by the cutesy locutions, breathless interjections, annoying parenthetical asides, would-be witticisms and inappropriate slang or colloquialisms that are trademarks of her style and of the gossipy, rhetorical, narcissistic voice of ads for that certain magazine, Cosmo. (Sept.)