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on 15 February 2007
No aspiring writer should be without a copy of "How to write a blockbuster." Full of good, practical advice this little gem covers everything from how to choose the right genre, how best to use feedback, all the way through to editing your work.

The layout is clear and unfussy and written in easy-to-understand language. It's pitch-perfect and non-patronising, not only covering the bascis of good novel writing; from explaining what a hiatus and a segue are, to showing how your story might fit on the 3 Act Graph, but also providing an insider's view of a publishing house and offering guidance on how to submit to an agent.

Read, studied, consulted and exploited, my own personal copy has been colorfully highlighted in many places.

If you're serious about becoming a successful writer this reference book will go a large part of the way to helping you achieve your goal.
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on 31 August 2006
Having used the Cornerstones consultancy in the past, I was interested to read any `how to' book they might publish. I was suitably impressed.

The book is brimming with sound advice (I found the sections on plot/structure, blockbuster prose and dialogue particularly helpful). Also, unlike other books on the subject (which normally reserve only a chapter on the submission process) HTWAB has an entire section on it: 75 pages of insightful comments etc. The chapter `your submission package' is particularly good for anyone about to send off to an agent.

If you're looking for a lot of guidance in specific areas of writing (such as character or dialogue) this may not be the book for you. But as a single volume covering all the major aspects of writing I would highly recommend it. I certainly wish I'd had something this comprehensive when I started writing.
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on 27 August 2006
If you buy one book on writing, buy this one, won't you? It is FANTASTIC!

Lee Weatherly and Helen Corner know their stuff and explain it so logically and their caring natures and personalities shine through. I am amazed they give so much away for the price of the book!

The exercises in the book have raised my level of writing ten fold. They have also given me wondrous treasures for the books I am currently writing. Thank you!

The layout of the book is so well done and full of riches, you can't put it down, greedy for the next gift.

Any level of writer will read, reread and refer to this book to ensure their highest levels of writing are maintained and that they walk into the industry, or proceed in it, informed.

WOW! Buy it!
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on 9 September 2006
Writers, especially first timers, often struggle to see how they can take their work to the next level. This book will help you make that step change. It's full of sound advice, examples and exercises that are easy to follow. Read it through, or dip into specific subjects as you come across a particular problem; it's all in there, believe me.

There is, perhaps, an unexpected bonus, in that this book will make you a better reader, too. The more you understand about reading, the more effectively you write.
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on 21 October 2006
This is the most useful book I've read about writng fiction and getting published. It is easy to read and full of truly helpful advice. I have just returned from a Cornerstones self-editing workshop (run by Helen and Lee) which is also highly recommended for people who want to improve their writing to a level where agents and publishers will take them seriously. The trouble is that if too many people buy this book, there'll be even more competition out there!
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on 20 January 2007
If you buy one book on writing, buy this one, won't you? It is FANTASTIC!

Lee Weatherly and Helen Corner know their stuff and explain it so logically and their caring natures and personalities shine through. I am amazed they give so much away for the price of the book!

The exercises in the book have raised my level of writing ten fold. They have also given me wondrous treasures for the books I am currently writing. Thank you!

The layout of the book is so well done and full of riches, you can't put it down, greedy for the next gift.

Any level of writer will read, reread and refer to this book to ensure their highest levels of writing are maintained and that they walk into the industry, or proceed in it, informed.

WOW! Buy it!
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on 19 September 2007
It's worth clarifying that if you've read any other `how to write' books, this one probably won't give you a great deal more. But for a first time budding writer, eager to get started and unsure of where to begin, this is an absolute winner.

The book covers a lot of ground - from choosing your genre, to the specifics of plot theory - and thankfully is an easy read in itself. I finished it in a couple of days, having highlighted and scribbled on almost every page, and felt an infinitely more informed writer afterwards. Writing a whole novel didn't seem half so daunting armed with the right techniques to things like plot structuring, characterisation etc.

Following this book, I went on to read a more specialist `how to' book in my genre (chick lit) and found plenty of overlaps, but the second was a lot easier to absorb thanks to the groundwork made by `How to Write a Blockbuster'.

The author establishes her credibility from the beginning and I appreciated her straightforward, non-patronising, positive style.

For anyone who likes to just sit down and write off the bat, you might find the planning suggestions too rigid. (But then you probably wouldn't even look for this kind of book in the first place.)
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on 15 February 2008
If you have written a book, or are well on the way to writing one, keep this magical little book by your side. Not only is it inspirational, it is full of non-patronising wisdom that makes you want to look at your work with new eyes, and make it reveal the potential you know it has. Don't buy 'how to write a damn good novel' by James Frey, its banal, basic and trite - it is a shame they wasted a good tree. If you are serious about your writing and making it the best you can, buy this one and forget all others, it's a real gem.
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on 1 March 2009
A lot of writers look down on "How to" books. I think it comes from the feeling that reading such a book shouldn't be necessary if you've got talent. But one thing I've learned is that, yes, writing involves talent, but you can always learn more and it can be enlightening to see the art of writing almost scientifically analysed.

And that is what this book does. I certainly don't want to write a Dan-Brown blockbuster, as the title suggests, but the author outlines basic principles that are applicable to any book, not just terrible page-turners. She lays them out simply, giving examples of well and poorly written text.

The book is split into 2 parts, written by 2 different authors. The first concentrates on how to write the book, the second on how to publish it. The second half has useful information, although perhaps goes too far describing what to do after you've been offered your amazing million dollar book deal (if I've got that far, I think I'll cope).

So overall I'd recommend this for a good clear review of the principles of writing a novel, with nice examples.
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on 4 June 2012
HOW TO WRITE A BLOCKBUSTER covers everything from getting started to polishing your prose and seeking publication. Each chapter is short but packed with advice on the specified topic. I read this a few years back shortly after completing the first draft of my novel, and the sections on learning how to edit your writing remain invaluable. I frequently return to this guide because it's concise and easy to dip in and out of.
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