cover image Starting from Scratch

Starting from Scratch

Rita Mae Brown. Bantam Books, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05246-6

The author of Rubyfruit Jungle and other novels, film and TV scripter, Brown here gives nonwriters and writers alike a book to enjoy quite apart from its instructional value. The tone is stern but empathetic, spiced by the author's sassy wit and full of information on the writer's craft. Starting from scratch, Brown focuses on the wonders of the English language, enriched by other tongues, and the need to understand how to use words in their great variety: ""I'll be brutally frank. If you don't know Latin, you don't know English.'' In later sections she covers the roles of editor, publisher and film professionals, the pros and cons of each medium, of computers, etc. as applied to writers. Candidly describing her own experiences, Brown makes us realize that writers are uncontrollably driven to write, ``even though the pay is ridiculous.'' (February 1)