The Professional Writer: Getting Ideas; Avoiding Pitfalls

By Marsh Cassady, Ph.D.
Reviewed by Kay Davis


the-professional-writerBeen thinking about writing your memoirs? Or have you been dreaming about writing a play that could be performed at the Lakeside Little Theatre? A great novel or a series of short stories for publishing? Then this is one of the best books you could buy, and it’s downloadable on Kindle for $4.99 (

The Table of Contents fascinated me with the clarity of its organization. Part I is about Getting Ideas. Dr. Cassady offers more than just the methods normally found on how writers dig up topics. Let’s say you write articles for magazines, and you get paid. What are the hot issues of today and how much do you know about them? You want to submit a short story or start a novel for which you have only sketchy ideas. What is required of a writer who wants to create something publishable? That’s what you usually find.

Dr. Cassady, in contrast, gives you assignments on how to get started. He shows how to use a character to begin developing the plot, and hes hows how to define characters so they seem real. There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. – W. Somerset Maugham.

Part II is about Pitfalls to avoid in writing, starting with grammar, style, format. He urges editing and having trusted friends read your material and make keen comments in the margins. Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. – Anton Chekhov.

He then takes his reader into the world of publishing, starting with whether to use an agent and how to find a good one for the genre written. But he doesn’t leave the writer with all that work to do.

He provides Appendices with a sample query letter and a sample proposal. That’s in addition to the section on promotion to assist the publisher in the sales process, even if you’re lucky enough to be picked up on and, yes, he recommends using the services that company offers. A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn’t quit. – Richard Bach.

What makes this book on writing better than others? For starters it is based on “close to 40 years” of teaching writing workshops plus his own success in writing material that has been published, at last count 54 published editions of the author’s own works. Clearly he knows something worth listening to, or reading.

He also demonstrates a sense of humor. When he tells you what is wrong about usage commonly found in improperly edited writing, his example often makes readers smile or burst out laughing. That’s so much more fun than humdrum classroom examples. I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it. – Carl Sandberg.

This is the most direct, precise and helpful book on writing that I’ve seen yet, one you can download instantly for $4.99 on Kindle or order through, the publisher. What are you waiting for? Marsh Cassady will expand your ideas, sharpen your story, article or poetry, and help you find a paying market.

If you’ve been considering writing anything to be published, why wait any longer? Go for it today.


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