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Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good laugh about the mistakes we make, 14 Mar. 2009
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This review is from: How NOT to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to avoid at All Costs if You Ever Want to Get Published (Paperback)
A little joy of a book which is very different from your standard writing guides. It really is a How-Not-To book, detailing the mistakes in plotting, character, style and worldbuilding that, if employed, will guarantee that an unpublished novel will never see the light of a bookstore shelf (or even the remainders bin). Even if you are positive that your fiction glows with perfection, it would be well worth reading this - you just might get a surprise.

That the book is not just instructional but also very entertaining is its chief joy. Each mistake is illustrated with examples to highlight it, and these are often very funny indeed:

"Hi Anne", He said, as she got into his Ford Fromage. "How was your day?"
"I don't know," She shrugged, grinning. That was so like her. It was also like her mother, Joe remembered. He had known Anne's mother before he ever met Anne. In 1963, when he was only eight...

- From "Oh, And Also? In which too much reminiscing spoils the story"

There are hundreds of others (well, 200 actually) some of them laugh-out-loud hilarious (Usually the rude ones). And sometimes it is a guilty laughter - there can't be many amateur writers who haven't made on or two (or a dozen, or all) of these mistakes. From pat endings to flat characters, inappropriate metaphors, gender stereotypes, repetition, obsessing over the food the characters eat, and the big no-nos like Holocaust-denying, awful sex scenes or including (for any reason at all) a dream sequence, it's a cynical delight. And, importantly, not too long.

If you have any desire to write a publishable novel, this book should be on your shelf.

After you've read it, of course.
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