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on 1 April 2005
I've been writing for a while, although I'm not yet published, but out of all the crass material out there for budding writers, I found this book to be certainly the best I've read by a long stretch. Its forte is is its direct approach to the 'how tos' of writing. The author is obvioulsy a writer, he even has his own publishing company, also writing columns for various famous genre magazines such as Cemetary Dance, and he is extremely well respected in the industry. This means you're getting it straight from the horse's mouth (to quote a terrible cliche) instead of the information you get from many self-help books that seem to be written by failed or only partially successful authors. This book is practical, down to earth and realistic about writing and I would advise any budding author to get a copy for the bookshelf, even if it means retiring some of those other less useful how-tos.
Oh, and good luck with your writing...
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on 18 February 2005
I have found this book to be very useful for an idiot like myself. Going through all the major parts of putting a novel together from Characters and settings which all sounds pretty basic but I have to say that i learnt a lot from this book the writer has written many books and really knows what he is talking about. Great book I reccomend it to anyone who has always wanted to write a novel, I would also reccomend that you buy it without thinking too much about the price because it is definately worth that much!
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on 8 January 2012
If you are looking for a book to help you start on your journey to becoming a successful author, then I can highly recommend Tom Monteleone's Complete Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel. With only this guide for reference, I had my first manuscript accepted for publication and my novel has just been launched in the UK and the US. Incredible as I never written anything before.
I always believed that whether I had any talent or not, there was a craft to writing a novel. All I needed to do was find the right book to show me the basics of that craft and then apply those lessons to my writing. This turned out to be the case and in the Complete Idiots Guide I found the book I was looking for.
Writing is an emotional as well as an academic exercise and I wasn't interested in reading a textbook whose function was to simply give me information. I needed an entertaining and informative guide, written for Complete Idiots - just like me.
Having read the more negative reviews, it may well be said that the guide is too basic for the more experienced writer and is aimed more at the US market. However if you are an experienced writer but struggling to achieve the success you desire, a trip back to the basics with a fresh perspective may be just what you need. And the fact that the guide is aimed more at the US market didn't bother me at all. The basic principals stay the same.
But remember, this book isn't called the Mildly Moronic or Slightly Simple Guide to Writing a Novel. This is a Complete Idiots Guide. The clue is in the title. If you want a guide that is more advanced then there are plenty available. Don't buy a book that is obviously written for the novice and then complain it is too basic. Now that is Completely Idiotic.
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on 4 September 2008
This book has some good ideas and I was able to take away a few tips to incorporate into my writing. Beware though, this book is not aimed at a UK Market. All currency examples are in US dollars and information such as writers groups etc are based in the US. Also, this book would only be half as long if the author didn't feel the need to share details of his childhood on every page. "Back when I was in school, I had to take four years of Latin...." I found myself getting really frustrated, thinking "no one cares and it isn't relevant!".
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on 24 April 2004
I seek out books about writing, and devour them. Some are good, others arenot. I wish I had this one from the start. You learn everything aboutwriting, being a writer, and how to get published.
I enjoyed most of all the chapters about the techniques of writing. How tocreate characters readers would read about, how to make a plot, a setting,a dialogue, are all written in an easy-to-read-language, filled with goldfacts. There are also lots of valuable quotations from other well-knownwriters, alongside with excellent tips from the writer of this book.
I needed to know the trade I'm getting into, all sides of it, before Iplunged into it. Of all the books I read about writing (12), this one gotme ready to write and deliver my manuscripts to publishers without beingafraid of rejection. I don't think I write well anymore. I know. And ifone publisher can't see that, it's off to the next one.
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on 5 January 2008
I'll keep this review short -- look elsewhere for help getting started on your novel, whether you are a complete novice or more into writing and looking for a kick in the pants or inspiration.

The author of this book is so steeped in justifying himself (I really am a professional writer, you know; I know you haven't heard of me, so go look at my list of publications at the back of this book. "No really, go on, I'll wait"; this is what someone asked me about being a writer at my latests cocktail party/barbecue/family picnic; this is how my old professors/editors/colleagues tried to discourage me but I prevailed) that you begin to question if this is a book to help you get a novel draft produced or therapy for the author.

Try the "for dummies" UK edition on writing a novel and getting it published -- much less dribble and more substance, and more content related to UK publishing and the writer's market. Or read anything by Lajos Egri... or, really, just about anything but Tom Monteleone's tired ramblings about his own ups and downs.
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on 8 February 2008
Simple to read, clearly laid out, inspiring, thought provoking...don't let the title put you off - and if you feel a little superior about having such a title on your shelf...well, get over yourself and buy this, because it bloomin' well does what it says on the cover!! I only have two books about 'how to write' and this is one of them. I have recommended it several times over, read it several times over, and filled the margins with notes! You should always read these type of books with a particular story you want to write in mind - in that way, you'll get the most out of it, as ideas should come to you with each page that you read. And whenever you have a new idea or story in mind, bring this book out again and read it again, because it will inspire you yet again. A real must for the budding novelist that can't quite get past that mental block of where to go next, or how to write it...
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on 4 February 2011
I'll know better next time not to pick anything with 'Idiot's Guide' in the title, as I found reading this book rather like visiting a used-car salesman. I felt that this book assumed the reader was all ready to write 'that bestseller' and just needed a couple of hints. This book covered nothing of which I had hoped to read about (how to narrow and focus on one's genre, how to move beyond journal-style writing and into learning how to begin writing chapters). This is likely a book for those who feel they can and want to write a (very mainstream) bestseller and who are ready to do so, not necessarily for those who have the ability to write who have more of a struggle. I found it simultaneously dumbed-down and too far beyond my needs.
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on 16 April 2014
I thought this was going to be easy to read and understand but no I seem to be lower then an idiot.
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on 24 November 2007
If this "obviously a writer" chappy has written so many books why are so few available on Amazon ?
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