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 pursuingj ournalisim, 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.