DEAR WRITER book cover   Dear Writer
Carmel Bird

Dustjacket synopsis:
"Many people wanting to write do not know where to begin.

"Carmel Bird, author of three books of fiction, has taught writing to a wide audience and understands the difficulties facing the new writer.

"Dear Writer, a collection of letters to an aspiring author, speaks on the one hand about writer's block, about plots about publishers, and, on the other hand, about the nature of fiction, offering the inspiration required for writing."

"So You Wanted to be Agatha Christie"
"'A' for Alive": 'D' for Dead"
"Top and Tail"
"The Omniscient Author"
"Giving up Housework"
"The Name of your Angel is Desire"
"The Centre of the Mystery"
"Stranger than Fiction"
"Act of the Imagination"
"Baby's Name"
"Cause of Death"
"In the Beginning was the Quill"
"Dear Diary..."
"Practical Matters"
"Writers are Different"
"Pepper and Salt"
"Getting into Print"
"The Manuscript"
"Source of Inspiration"
"The Ear and the Heart"
"When All's Said and Done"

First Paragraph from the Introduction:

As a writer of fiction and as a teacher of fiction writing, I know that the techniques of writing can be taught. But writing fiction involves more than the mastering of technique. My students have sometimes wished for a book that would not only provide advice about skills, but would somehow urge and inspire the reader to write and continue to write. I hope that Dear Writer will fulfil the students' wishes and answer the needs of all new writers.

I believe that fiction writers find the material for fiction in their own memories of life. Books, films, newspapers, television and so on give us a lot of information which acts as a sort of second-hand memory. This kind of material can be a source of inspiration, but when much of the content of the fiction is borrowed from this source, the fiction falls to engage the reader.

I emphasise my belief, based on my own experience as a writer, and strengthened by my observation of the progress of many students, that the source for the material of fiction is in the life, the experience, the memory, the self of the writer. When the writer is truly drawing on the source of the self, the techniques of writing fiction seem to come naturally, requiring little discussion, presenting few problems.

From the Penguin paperback edition, 1988.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: January 16, 2002.