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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful
Frey does a fantastic job here and approaches it in a friendly and amusing way. Apart from having very useful advice, I found the book inspiring and it gave my writing a bit of a boost. The section on dealing with family and friends who don't appreciate your writing lifestyle was hilarious. And unfortunately true.

I'd recommend this to people who can already...
Published on 22 Sep 2006 by Moonshine

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An American Tent Show
This book resembles American-style motivational speaking translated into print. It exudes confidence, very effectively selling a set of ideas about what you need to do to be a "great" writer. You start reading it and quickly get drawn in by an enticing message and glowing promise of future success: on page after page it presses the message that with determined work,...
Published on 3 Jun 2012 by Christopher H


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An American Tent Show, 3 Jun 2012
By 
Christopher H (Keilor, Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: How to Write Damn Good Fiction: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling (Paperback)
This book resembles American-style motivational speaking translated into print. It exudes confidence, very effectively selling a set of ideas about what you need to do to be a "great" writer. You start reading it and quickly get drawn in by an enticing message and glowing promise of future success: on page after page it presses the message that with determined work, following these rules, you too can be a star writer.

If only it were this simple. Frey doesn't point to any major figure who has risen to fame by following his sure-fire method: where are his former students among the Pulitzer and Booker Prize winners?

The reality is that this book is more a primer on preparing American-style commercial fiction. It isn't about improving the creative value of writing: it is not about artistic quality. Because what Frey means by "damn good" is commercially successful fiction. The stress throughout is how to make writing more sellable, Frey seeming to equate book or magazine sales with merit. He divides fiction writing into a black-&-white world of commercial winners and loosers. Indeed, Frey is openly contemptuous of writers with literary ambitions, dismissing them as "literati" (see his p.117-9).

Mind you, its not bad advice that he gives on writing. Much of it is good and well worth listening to. Yet these rules would not have helped if you were Virginia Woolf working on Mrs. Dalloway or Rosamond Lehmann drafting The Weather In The Streets (although Frey may not admire such brazenly inventive works). There are very clear limitations to his prescribed approach.

If many writers and novels are cited in passing within Frey's smooth patter, seven works and their authors are repeatedly invoked and set up as standards of excellence (just a quick glance at the book's index will tell much). They are, in order, Stephen King's "Carrie", Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" and Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" - his three unquestionably great works - followed by Stephen Crane's "Red Badge of Courage", Peter Benchley's "Jaws", Franz Kafka's "The Trial" and Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment". This list indicates the forms of story-telling Frey sets up as worthy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful, 22 Sep 2006
This review is from: How to Write Damn Good Fiction: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling (Paperback)
Frey does a fantastic job here and approaches it in a friendly and amusing way. Apart from having very useful advice, I found the book inspiring and it gave my writing a bit of a boost. The section on dealing with family and friends who don't appreciate your writing lifestyle was hilarious. And unfortunately true.

I'd recommend this to people who can already write competantly, but perhaps need some guidance on the finer points of plotting.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but watch out..., 6 Feb 2006
This review is from: How to Write Damn Good Fiction: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling (Paperback)
This is a great little gem of a book, but fans of Mr Frey watch out: This is a reprint of "How to write a damn good novel II", so don't buy it if you've already got that one - the text is identical and you only end up having to return one...
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, 13 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: How to Write Damn Good Fiction: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling (Paperback)
I thought there were a few good examples in this book that I hadn't come across before and it will be useful for reference time and again. Basically, no-nonsense advice given in a clear voice.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading, 16 Feb 2008
This review is from: How to Write Damn Good Fiction: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling (Paperback)
This is a must have for any fiction writer. It was recommended to me by a successful published novelist who teaches creative writing as a degree. It especially gives indispensable advice about characterization. It backs up it's theories with examples from well known novels. BUT BEWARE. The title of this book is 'HOW TO WRITE DAMN GOOD FICTION'. It is exactly the same book as Frey's differently titled, 'HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL 2'. Make sure you don't by the same book twice.
p.s. Frey's 'How to Write a Damn Good Novel' is very good too.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must ..., 24 Sep 2004
By 
SSmith (Milton Keynes) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Write Damn Good Fiction: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling (Paperback)
I actually got this book in with a "deal" with another writing book I purchased... but I was pleasantly surprised with what I received.
James N. Frey has packed this out with really interesting ideas, techniques and advice, which is down-to-earth, honest and, most importantly perhaps for a Writing book - inspiring.
Whether you are a beginner or a published novelist, I think this book is for you all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Identical to How to Write a Damn Good Novel II, 13 Oct 2013
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This review is from: How to Write Damn Good Fiction: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling (Paperback)
What can I say - same stuff - different cover. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough. The content is worth reading though.
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