Quill and Quire

REVIEWS

« Back to
Book Reviews

The Write Track: How to Succeed as a Freelance Writer in Canada

by Betty Jane Wylie

If you ever wanted practical advice on how to live and work as a writer in Canada, Betty Jane Wylie’s The Write Track is the book for you. This smart, practical guide has been written by someone who should know, the author of every type of book and article imaginable: non-fiction, biography, poetry, plays for children, plays for adults, belles lettres, inspirational works, cookbooks, musicals – you name it.

Wylie opens The Write Track by asking some fundamental questions of her readers. Are they sure they want to become writers? Are they foolhardy enough? Can they stand rejection? Is their passion equal to their obstinacy? Again, Wylie should know: “The more I am rejected and ignored,” she writes in the chapter devoted to the writer’s character, “the more defiant I become, and the more belligerent about proving my worth.”

Wylie then suggests ways to tap the subconscious, generate ideas, overcome writer’s block, organize the writing life, do research, conduct interviews, analyze the market, appeal to editors, read contracts, enjoy the glory, and survive the setbacks. Any practical information you might ever have wanted to know about the writer’s world is covered here – from electronic rights, to the nitty-gritty of what Wylie calls the “minefield” of book contracts, to the value of the literary agent. Where the business side of publishing is complex, Wylie takes the time and space to walk us through the subtleties of contracts or query letters or letters of intent. If this were not enough, she provides us with addresses of organizations that can help, and a comprehensive bibliography of the best books about the craft and business of writing. The Write Track makes a perfect companion to Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. If Dillard charges you with the inspirational energy required to become a writer, Wylie teaches you to harness and direct that energy. Wylie has earned a spot on the writer’s reference shelf, alongside Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction.