2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of the best 'how-to' guides around,
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This review is from: Telling Lies for Fun and Profit (Paperback)This somewhat quirky 'how-to' book on novel writing is really worth the money. Block covers all the aspects of commercial fiction writing and includes a lot of excellent examples from his own highly varied background. And he ain't pedantic about it. In many areas he makes suggestions, but tells you to find out what works for you. I read a 'Matt Scudder' novel after I finished this book (for the second time), just to see how Block puts his theories into practice. He does, right down the line. But he also violates some of the conventional wisdom regarding modern writing. For example, most guides tell you to get 'it' written first, then revise the hell out of it. Black says he doesn't do very much re-writing, and you can see this very clearly in his novels. He goes into a lot of detail about New York places and neighborhoods where the novel takes place, but it will be gibberish to you if you're not a native New Yorker. If you're reading critically, you'll see quite a few things that supposedly agents and publishers just won't go for, but obviously they have in Block's case.
This guide will pay off handsomely if you read it carefully, then re-read it after you've done some fiction writing of your own. Block does not waste words. Virtually every sentence contains some useful information, but you won't absorb it all the first time.