- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Collins (1 May 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061357952
- ISBN-13: 978-0061357954
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,320,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
How Not to Write a Novel Paperback – 1 May 2008
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
This writing how-to should carry a warning: it's the kind of book one reads at the expense of all other responsibilities. (Library Journal)
A great resource and a fun read with a lot of solid advice for would-be novelists. (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'[a] hilarious, wickedly observed and deeply useful guide'
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
I found it intermittently very funny, and usually helpful; some of the recommendations will be familiar to anyone who's read anything similar before, but it's mostly fresh and zippy enough. You'll get through it in a single sitting, but it would make a useful pre-flight checklist for any fiction manuscript.
Certain Amazon reviewers seem to have found this book personally offensive, and the examples of mistakes insulting to unpublished writers. On the other hand, one of those reviewers doesn't know that a 'straw man' is a deliberate misrepresentation of an opponent's position, designed to be easily refuted, and not a deliberate exaggeration designed to make a salient point clearer, which is what the parodic examples in this book are. I'd say they're made so comically awful partly in order to *avoid* offending or discouraging unpublished writers.
The implicit 201st piece of advice here is probably: if you're dreadful enough to find the examples insulting, and you can't see how bad you are even after it's pointed out to you, give up.
I bought this book as a writing guide and in this respect found it quite useful. In the first few pages I managed to spot some of the areas where I had been going wrong in my own writing. The book as a whole contains a mixture of tips, some that you may think are obvious and others not, but all of them are insightful in some way.
The book is very, very sarcastic which certainly appeals to my sense of humour. At a few places I did laugh out loud and one particular part did cause a few minutes of chuckling. There is also a distinct dislike for the author Ayn Rand running through these pages which I can but applaud loudly.
If there is a downside to the book it is that now I am reading fiction through the lens of Mittlemark and Newman. I've started seeing some really obvious mistakes in the work of famous and respected authors, and I have to try not to make this prevent me from enjoying their work. Oh well, I suppose if published authors aren't perfect then there is hope for us all.
That the book is not just instructional but also very entertaining is its chief joy. Each mistake is illustrated with examples to highlight it, and these are often very funny indeed:
"Hi Anne", He said, as she got into his Ford Fromage. "How was your day?"
"I don't know," She shrugged, grinning. That was so like her. It was also like her mother, Joe remembered. He had known Anne's mother before he ever met Anne. In 1963, when he was only eight...
- From "Oh, And Also? In which too much reminiscing spoils the story"
There are hundreds of others (well, 200 actually) some of them laugh-out-loud hilarious (Usually the rude ones). And sometimes it is a guilty laughter - there can't be many amateur writers who haven't made on or two (or a dozen, or all) of these mistakes. From pat endings to flat characters, inappropriate metaphors, gender stereotypes, repetition, obsessing over the food the characters eat, and the big no-nos like Holocaust-denying, awful sex scenes or including (for any reason at all) a dream sequence, it's a cynical delight. And, importantly, not too long.
If you have any desire to write a publishable novel, this book should be on your shelf.
After you've read it, of course.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really good fun! I laughed out loud on several occasions reading this. It feels like the authors had great fun writing it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by S Maclennan
I think they might have read my debut novel!Hungary for Adventure
Great advice and extremely funny. I feel that I have laughed and learned!
Really funny initially but too long, they should have cut it shorter. It got to the point where instead of just giving advice it became an example of how not to write. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Richard Evans
Useless as a guide to writing but an example of how very easy it is to get non-fiction published. A series of flippant commentaries on parodies of bad writing is not the way to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dorothea
It starts off as a mildly amusing anecdote, but I feel it labours the point to exaggeration by the end. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Doonhamerscriever
Perfect for the new novelist, funny and illuminating, definitely a must havePublished 7 months ago by Philippa
I bought this as it had had such good reviews and sounded a fantastic combination of humour with education. It was everything I had hoped for. Read morePublished 8 months ago by A. Gardiner
A witty and illuminating book about novel writing - the conceit of writing from the perspective of teaching how NOT to write a novel, allows the examples to be funny and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer