Michael Allen, 'The Truth About Writing' - This book fits well as 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’, I thought one can expect a rich feast in its pages.
And I am not 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.
Chapters 6 and 7 are thoroughly down to earth, and focus on the practical problems of finding sufficient time and energy to complete one's project. One will often come across people who would definitely write a book if only they had the time and energy. After reading these two chapters, I am sure, they will no longer have any excuses.
The penultimate chapter provides some valuable advice on how to sell one's work, or at least on how to get it before the public. The problem of selling one's work is normally glossed over by those who write about writing. "They tend to imply that it is simply a matter of putting a typescript into an envelope and sending it off to a publisher' says the author. This chapter attempts to suggest a few ways forward in addition to the orthodox avenues.
Finally, Chapter 9 provides what every purchaser of a book on writing is looking for: the secret of success. Here the secret of success is expressed in mathematical terms! Wow! The author gives a scientific formula, one which explains exactly what is it that makes a writer a success overnight! After reading this part of the book, I am sure, people would like to refer to it from time to time.
Following the last chapter, there is a brief envoi, followed by a list of axioms, which, one would do well to bear in mind.