- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1080 KB
- Print Length: 176 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: The Write Thought (16 Jun. 2011)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0056HH7HG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #352,969 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||£8.99|
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How to Write Action Adventure Novels (Classic Wisdom on Writing Series) Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Back in the late 80's veteran action writer Mike Newton, who has written a number of Gold Eagle Executioner novels and a pile of other action adventure reads, sat down and wrote this guide for poor schmucks like me who wanted to write about guys running around with Uzis and grenade launchers. This reference book has no doubt been buried largely unread in the back room piles of used bookstores for decades now. But Mike is a smart guy and knows that his work can live on once again in an eBook format.
Overall, this is a very solid book. Mike covers a lot of the basics that most writers should understand (but its always good to be reminded), like having a strong hook, how to develop good characters, and so forth, but he always looks at things from an action and adventure standpoint. This is coupled with a lot of excerpts from books and some of them are of what NOT to do, which I always think is a good idea. He also reminds writers that research is vital for such a niche genre because so many of the readers have military or law enforcement backgrounds, and can sniff out a fake very quickly. Although very dated now, a large number of reference works are provided for authors who didn't know where to begin in the pre-Google days.
Lastly, there is a whole chapter on breaking into the genre publishing gig. This is actually the saddest part about this book, because it makes it so obvious how much of a stranglehold traditional publishers have over the authors. Advice like how you never want to call unsolicited - which in and of itself is not a bad thing to say - is badly colored when it's followed up with how you never want to annoy anyone, ever, because somehow, some day, they might be in a position to open or close the gates for your career. Reading this section of the book, is it any wonder Kindle Direct Publishing and other indie pub outlets are being flooded?
For five dollars, I think this book is still a good investment. I found most "so you want to be a writer" books make me want to throw up, and this one is refreshingly honest, well-written, and possesses just the right amount of cheek and sarcasm. Highly recommended.
Much of the research material that Newton lists as resources is still out there and undoubtedly still useful, but is dated since the book was written in the late 80s. These days the budding author has many more venues in which to find useful information. (the Internet being a beginning, not the end)
It seems clear that the book was turned into Kindle format using OCR software. They are many typos throughout the book that any spell checker would have picked up, e.g., "modern" is rendered as "modem", "learn" as "leam", "applied" as "apphed", "slid" as "shd", and so on. I suspect the print version does not have these errors. Despite these problems, it is still readable.
Imagine my surprise as it unfolds into a very good analysis of the genre markets, a deft guide to the craft of modern fiction writing, & a glimpse into the life of the best-selling novelist -- not the gazillionaires like King or Koontz of Mailer or whoever, but the scrivener who just makes a nice living at cranking out entertainment for the rest of us.
Newton shows you many passages that don't quite make the grade (but went to press anyway, because that's often how it works) & chunks that he feels are golden. He berates you to make it all larger-than-life -- that's the market! -- but also stops you short of falling to mawkish self-parody. This is certainly a vital book for the mystery writer & those who do war stories, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a tonic before writing Western, Gothic, space adventure, or quest fantasy.
It's worth ten bucks, & certainly a fiver, even though the world has changed so much since 1989 -- another great book Writer's Digest has allowed to languish.
The poor organization of the book, however, destroys much of its usefulness. The text hops from one topic to another so the book takes on the form of a writer's stream-of-consciousness.
Weak arrangement choices dog the book everywhere. Even lists of information -- very useful if they had been enumerated as a set of bullet points -- are written out in long paragraph form. For example, chapter 7 contains a list of reference books for military information, intelligence, police procedure, etc. Not only is the catalog of books presented in two pages of dense paragraphs, it's located in the chapter titled "Heroes and Heavies" -- hardly an obvious place for this reference information.
There are also irritating misattributions that should have been caught by his editor (e.g. the author repeatedly mentions the novel Firefox written by Clive Cussler -- although Craig Thomas is the true author). If you're writing action/adventure novels, I would suggest you instead check out Newton's "Armed and Dangerous: A Writer's Guide to Weapons." It describes all manner of weapons from knives to artillery and has proven very useful.
The author explains in detail the steps to take, the research and discipline required. He provides numerous examples from other authors and his own writings to demonstrate the process. Most importantly he explains that self discipline is crucial to the process if you really want to be a published author. Highly recommended and should be read by anyone contemplating writing in this genre and others. Thank you Mr. Newton. .