Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Review: The Truth About Writing

Michael Allen, the author of 'The Truth About Writing' - An essential handbook for novelists,  playwrights, and screenwriters, if the introduction of the book is anything to go by, where he quotes ‘If you want to be thought a liar, always tell the truth’, fits well as a liar. 
No, I think I am mistaken. The first few chapters talks about the possible rewards of writing and how unlikely will it be to actually get those rewards. Thereafter the book suggests the prospective writers to set one's own aims and ambitions, which in turn shall influence the products. A discussion on the workings of the modern publishing industry is followed by another chapter on the pitfalls of selling one's work. That actually what writers are selling is emotion. Quite interesting chapters then follow: The practical problems of finding sufficient time and energy to complete one's project, how to get it before the public, a few valuable suggestions for progressing one's dreams further, to the printer, publisher and the reader. The final chapter is the best one: it deals with the secret of success. That too in mathematical terms! No the book doesn't end here. A list of axioms at the end makes it easy to keep in mind, what would do well to bear in mind. 

I liked this book. Taking the example of Montgomery Clift, who turned down the lead parts in four films, and each of the four actors who accepted what Clift had declined became a famous star as a result, the author mentions of the significance of 'circumstances', the principal element in one's success. You see, none of the above would have happened if Clift had decided to play any of the parts himself. 
I wish the writer actually is a liar, I myself being a writer looking for the elements of success!

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