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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining
I'm glad I bought this book. As an author of suspense myself, I found it very worthwhile. It won't teach you how to write--but I've found no book can really do that. In the same vein as Stephen Kings book On Writing, it is more an account about how this highly successful author developed her craft over the years, her successes and failures. If you want a how to guide...
Published on May 8 2004 by Suspense Fan

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3.0 out of 5 stars A very personalized guide, with a few helpful hints
In this short book, Patricia Highsmith offers her opinions on writing suspense stories. She addresses story ideas, using personal experiences, story development and plotting, first and second drafts, revisions, and other dimensions of the writing craft. Highsmith is honest up front, stating that "This is not a how-to-do-it handbook." After giving writers the...
Published on June 21 2002 by M. A Michaud


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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Genre To Literature, Dec 25 2001
By 
Joan Torrents (Barcelona, Catalunya Spain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction (Paperback)
This book is an excellent essay on the craft of writing, far beyond any label or genre you might want it to focus on. Honest and intelligent, Patricia Highsmith writes without flamboyance of any kind about all the steps going along the creative process. And in doing this, she really helps the writer-reader take consciousness of his craft, giving him realistic advice and motivation.
"Plotting and Writing..." is not a "how to" book. It doesn't give you any formula nor pretends to have found the golden way of creating a story. But it is a true infusion of shared experience from a very talented writer and a bright person.
And most important: Mrs. Highsmith's book teaches there's not such a thing as "Suspense Literature" or whatever. As Duke Ellington said about music, there are only two kinds of literature: the good one and the bad one. Patricia Highsmith deals with the good one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars General advice, because suspense is universal, Dec 5 2001
By A Customer
Patricia Highsmith doesn't sell out, despite writing in the suspense genre. The reason, as one gathers from this book, is that she sees suspense as a necessary ingredient of all fiction; the suspense genre simply focuses on the most extreme kinds of dread and excitement.
I found the book just about right as to depth vs. chattiness. It's true there's only so much one can teach about the writing process. Everything an aspiring writer encounters in his own practice is covered: plotting, first drafts, second drafts, revision. Highsmith's telescoped prose is a lesson in itself and worth the price of the book. We need as many encouraging monographs like this, written by masters who take the time to address the rest of us, as we can get.
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3.0 out of 5 stars For the Highsmith fans, Aug. 25 2000
I enjoyed a few of Highsmith's novels and short stories, and was impressed enough to become curious about how the author came up with her detailed insights into the psychology of the likable criminal. Common sense told me it was observation - but I still wanted to find out from the horse's mouth so to speak.
While I found it interesting to read about Highsmith looking back at the circumstances under which she wrote, I felt that Highsmith herself was not whole-heartedly interested, or confident about writing about her particular process of writing. It was mildly irritating that she apologised several times (usually at the beginning of a chapter) for having the audacity to presume to write about how to write. Fair enough: it is wise not to assume you speak for everyone or be totally pompous about it (like Sol Stein, ugh) but still, by the time a reader picks up a book like this, they really WANT to know how that particular author writes. I also felt that there was a fair amount of distance between the time she analysed her process, and the time she actually wrote her stories, so the book lacks the intricacy that one gets from reading a more immediate record.
However, there were some useful and interesting bits, especially Highsmith's opinions on thickening the plot, and the use of coincidence. It would help very much to have read her work widely as she quotes from some of them and uses the Glass Cell as a case study.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insiteful in more ways than one, July 6 2000
By 
C. Colt "It Just Doesn't Matter" (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I read this book after experiencing a couple of Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley novels. Since I liked her mysteries so much I thought this book would provide interesting insite into the mind and technique of the author, which it did. In terms of revealing the brain child behind the Ripley books it was quite revealing.
ALthough I am not a professional writer of fiction, I found the advice in this book interesting and helpful because it was suplemented with real life examples. Highsmith fills this book with examples of what she did right and what she did wrong throughout her career. She explains the general--and fairly sensible--principles that guide her writing as well as the little details that can enhance or ruin a novel. If I were an aspiring author, I think I would derive useful and interesting information from this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good Ð but is it necessary?, April 24 2000
I always query these "how to write..." books, because everything they tell you is taken for granted by the most mediocre authors. This book is well written and everything in it seems very sensible and sound advice, but wouldn't it be better to be original and devise your own method of plotting, rather than writing to someone elses formula.
If you are completely clueless, by all means, this book is worth-your-while, but for the more serious 'authorial' hopefuls Ð try something of your own devising, it will be better in the end.
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Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction
Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith (Paperback - Sept. 8 2001)
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