Reviews of Writing Books

The Internet Writing Journal

Which Lie Did I Tell? by William Goldman

Pantheon, March 2000.
Paperback, 485 pages.
ISBN: 0375403493
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Which Lie Did I Tell?
by William Goldman Which Lie Did I Tell? is a follow-up to Adventures in the Screen Trade, by extremely successful screenwriter and novelist William Goldman, which exposed Hollywood politics and stardom and provided screenwriting know-how. In his new screenwriter's aide, Goldman again amazes with his immense knowledge of screenwriting, the movie business and the bizarre, stress-ridden lifestyle of the screenwriter. Goldman guides screenwriters through the world of screenwriting, providing tips on surviving rejection, examples of what makes a good screenplay (and what doesn't), as well as methods for pitching scripts. He also discusses his own triumphs and failures and tells stories about working with famous Hollywood actors and legends such as Rob Reiner, Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Chevy Chase, Clint Eastwood and many others. To aide the budding screenwriter, Goldman provides excerpts and analysis of some of his own screenplays such as Absolute Power, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride, as well as excerpts from screenplays by others, including There's Something About Mary, When Harry Met Sally and Fargo. With each script excerpt Goldman explains what works and why.

William Goldman is an Oscar award-winning screenwriter and bestselling novelist. Some of his well-known work includes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Stepford Wives, All the President's Men, Misery, Maverick and Marathon Man. His insight into screenwriting and Hollywood is both incredibly enlightening and often hilarious -- and maybe even frightening to the budding screenwriter. "You meet people in this business, and one thing you must know is that just about everyone you come in contact with seems shockingly normal. Don't be fooled. Since movies succeed by word of mouth, something you cannot manufacture, everyone in the business is constantly in fear of losing their sport by the fire. Since they have no idea what go them there in the first place, this all makes for a certain lunacy and insecurity. Everyone assumes, correctly, that being writers, we are already loony and insecure." A great read for aspiring screenwriters and anyone interested in the inner-workings of the movie business. Highly recommended.

2000 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market Edited by Alice Pope

Writer's Digest Books, January 2000.
Trade Paperback, 394 pages.
ISBN: 089879935X
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2000 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market
edited by Alice Pope This annual reference guide for children's writers and illustrators contains articles, interviews with authors and publishers, tips and market listings. Each year, the Editor of the guide updates the market information and adds new features and improvements to the book. This year, the book features a new Agents and Art Reps section, which contains listings of literary agents and art reps who specialize in or represent a good percentage of children's writers or illustrators. Markets covered in the book include book publishers, magazine publishers, greeting card companies, puzzle, game publishers, play publishers and special markets for young writers and artist. Each listing includes contact details, website information, details about the publisher's needs for both writers and illustrators and payment and legal terms for accepted work. In addition to the information about places to submit work and get published, the guide also includes listings of contests, conferences, workshops and other web and print resources for writers and illustrators. Children's writers and illustrators should not be without this information-packed reference and market guide.

Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Jack & Glenda Neff, Don Prues

Writer's Digest Books, November 1999.
Trade Paperback, 248 pages.
ISBN: 089879921X
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Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript
by Jack & Glenda Neff, Don Prues Writers will be very pleased with this detailed guide to manuscript formatting and submitting. The guide provides detailed instruction, full-page samples with pointers and do's and don'ts to help writers learn how to submit their work appropriately. The book covers all types of manuscripts and submissions, including freelance articles, freelance queries, book manuscripts, book proposals, agent and editor queries, fillers, short stories, novels, screenplays, television scripts, plays, poetry and greeting cards. The appendix includes information about record keeping and forms, a permission form to use copyrighted material, a sample release form and a letter of agreement.

This book does the best job to date of showing writers how to submit their work in the correct format and style. The most valuable parts of the book are the highly detailed samples which show the correct format needed for each type of manuscript. The samples include even the tiniest details -- such as margin size, where to indent, center and underline, word counts and page numbering -- that you need to catch an editor's eye. This is a reference that writers will consult over and over again. Highly recommended.

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