Tuesday 15 June 2010

New Arrival: Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith

This one's a little different:

A 1983 UK hardback first edition of Patricia Highsmith's Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, published by Poplar Press, originally published in the States in 1966. I did toy with getting a US edition – either the original or the 1981 revised edition – but I like the cover on this UK edition (although it's yellowing at the edges, as are the pages; that aside it's in good condition). The book is essentially Highsmith's thoughts on writing, with chapters on ideas, plotting, drafting, revising, and so on, using examples of her own work. But as Highsmith states in the preface:

This is not a how-to-do-it handbook. It is impossible to explain how a successful—that is, readable—book is written. But this is what makes writing a lively and exciting profession, the ever present possibility of failure. Therefore, I have dwelt as much on my failures as successes here, because one can learn a lot from failures.

And then in chapter one, she begins:

The first person you should think of pleasing, in writing a book, is yourself. If you can amuse yourself for the length of time it takes to write a book, the publishers and the readers can and will come later.

Food for thought. Not that I've started writing a book or anything. Ahem.

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