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AUTHOR: Rita Mae Brown
Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writer’s Manual
by Rita Mae Brown
From the best-selling author of Rubyfruit Jungle and Bingo, here is a writers’ manual as provocative, frank, and funny as her fiction. Unlike most writers’ guides, this one had as much to do with how writers live as with mastering the tools of their trade. Rita Mae Brown begins with a very personal account of her own career, from her days as a young poet who had written a novel no publisher wanted to take a chance on, right up to her recent adventures as a Hollywood screenwriter. In a sassy style that makes her outspoken advice as entertaining as it is useful, she provides straight talk about paying the rent while maintaining the energy to write; and dealing with agents, publishers, critics, and the publicity circus; about pursuing journalisim, academia, or screen-writing; and about rejecting the Hemingway myth of the hard-living, hard-drinking genius. In addition Brown, a former teacher or writing, offers a serious examination of the writer’s tool — language, plotting, characters, symbolism — plus exercises to sharpen the ear for dialogue, and a fascinating annoted reading list of important works from the seventh century to the late twentieth.
Author Rita Mae Brown has often been referred to as a lesbian because of her well-known earlier works Venus Envy and Rubyfruit Jungle as well as her involvement with the radical feminist movement (she co-founded The Furies Collective in the 1970s), but in interviews she frequently pushed back against being labeled a “lesbian writer” (and most other labels). In an interview with TIME, she said “I don’t believe in straight or gay. I really don’t. I think we’re all degrees of bisexual. There may be a few people on the extreme if it’s a bell curve who really truly are gay or really truly are straight. Because nobody had ever said these things and used their real name, I suddenly became the only lesbian in America. It was hysterical. It was a misnomer, but it’s okay. It was a fight worth fighting.”
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