36 Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande

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Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande, Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 1934, 148pp.

A short book, but the only one of its type that I’ve ever read. The title seems to imply that it is a how-to book for writers, and, yes, that’s probably where you should expect to find it filed in bookstores and libraries, but its point of attack is quite different from all of those Writer’s Digest tomes next to it. Brande assumes that you can find writing instruction elsewhere; what she has to give you is instruction on assuming the psychological role of a writer. You may recall one of my past editorials wherein I talked about coming to terms with my career choice and introducing myself to people that way. This is the sort of thing that Brande counsels her readers on (in the case above, she notes that student engineers do not have any problems introducing themselves as such). Some other books touch on these themes, but only Brande makes it the heart of her instruction. This was recommended to me by Pamela Sargent, who added that George Zebrowski recommends it to all aspiring writers. After I received her recommendation, I had it recommended to me quite independently in my Teaching of Writing class. If you plan to be or are thinking of Becoming a Writer, you should probably check this one out.

[Finished January 1999]

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