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The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes Paperback – 1 Mar 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; New edition edition (1 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898798213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898798210
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By N. Frary on 7 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everytime I read this book it inspires me to keep on going.
It has shown me several serious mistakes that I had made in my writing of commercial fiction and I would recommend it as the ideal book for any struggling authors - particularly us unpublished amateurs who are still learning with an intent to go commercial.
I find this the perfect book to take to airports or bus stations as the chapters are short and pithy. Each 'mistake' will only take a couple of minutes to read but should arouse much thought about your own work. They say that the only way to become a rule breaker - a maverick who sets their own rules or forges their own style is to know the rules. This book shows you the rules so that if you decide to break them then at least you know what you are doing and why it may or may not work.
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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
Although the title sounds negative, this book pulls no punches in telling you exactly what you should be doing with your writing. I particularly found his advice on the craft of writing scene structure useful. I have no hesitation in recommending it - it's a great buy.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Aug 1998
Format: Paperback
In this very short volume, Bickham manages to get to the essence of writing good popular fiction. His language is very easy to understand, very easy to apply, and yet reveals his decades of experience. He has distilled it all down into this one book, and it's a must for all those who want to write more effective popular fiction. For those looking for even more, try his 'How to Write and Sell Your Novel', which contains longer, more in-depth treatment of the material.
Warning: For those wanting to write 'literary fiction' or such stuff, this is not the book for you.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback
Whilst by no means a complete waste of time, Bickman's book doesn't have the general application that some better guides offer. It's probably quite useful if you write romance, or pulp westerns and espionage thrillers as Mr Bickman himself apparently did - anything with a single protagonist battling against the odds - but for most other genres his limited (and limiting) advice is less than helpful. Personally I write fantasy, horror and science-fiction, and the model he puts forward as mandatory for any good fiction would exlude many of the great works in those genres (as well as the majority of literary classics, for that matter). As proof of this there's the fact that Bickman offers almost no examples to cooborate his arguments, and a couple of the few there are are from his own works! On the plus side, it's a very readable and stirring book, and even if like me you disagree with much of what's said, it at least pushes you to question your own style and decisions. Personally I would recommend Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, as a much more generally applicable and less personal and occassionally bizzare guide than this.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 May 1998
Format: Paperback
Pithy, to-the-point, and more useful than any other single book on the subject. Have yet to see the important writing questions asked (and answered) so well. Probably the best first book for aspiring writers to read, well before their manuscripts are finished.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By MR R NELSON on 24 Nov 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was a great read. An eye opener into the things we do in writing that we do without conscious thought. I bought it based on the reviews that I had read here, it is simple, short and to the point. The writer clearly states would be problems and how in some instances they aren't necessarily bad if considered and used properly. At first I was slightly sceptical about what he was saying because they disagreed with some of my experience, however the writer wrote in detail as to why he says what does and goes as far as to present examples. It is a good indicator of where you are with your own writing and is an helps raise awareness of possible problems that might occur. Not to forget this book inspired me to start being more observant and plan and make notes. For where I want to go with my writing this book is a gem however let it be made clear that it may not be the same experience for all however I will guarantee that if you are an amateur writer there will be at least sections that will be a great help.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By ecollins on 20 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book!!! So many good points. It is a very easy read and to the point on all the main things to consider for short stories or novels. A very quick read. It left me wanting to write. It is very inspiring. I now have a notebook with me at all times to write down my thoughts/ideas/observations. I shall use this book as my reference/guide/friend to keep me on track.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 1998
Format: Paperback
This book's title doesn't do the contents justice. Slim volume full of practical advice. Maybe more of a beginner's book than Stein's On Writing, but its messages are needed for all writers. Read it in one sitting, then went back and marked numerous passages. One that stays near my work station.
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