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on 21 July 2008
Having wanted to start writing a novel for a long time and lacking the expertise / techniques, I sought a book for beginners that didn't use too much jargon and could be easily understood.

I bought this book on the reputation of other books in the "...for Dummies" series that I have read and wasn't disappointed. This book is an absolute must for beginners. It's written in plain English, which by today's standards is something of a forgotten concept. The techniques and guidelines are all really helpful and have allowed me to develop both my storyline and my characters in a way which I wouldn't have thought to do.

The chapters are all an invalueable source of information and divide the tasks and techniques required to write a novel into simple, easy to understand sections. There is also advice on some exercises that you can do if you're stuck at various stages of the writing process. These exercises really help you to work out the dynamics of your story, and open your mind to other storyline / character development possibilities.

If there are any aspiring authors out there looking for a decent "how-to" book for beginners, then this is the one.
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on 8 July 2009
When I came to buy a "writing a novel" self-help book, there were two that stood out for me. One was "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel" and the other was this one "Writing a Novel and Getting Published for Dummies." Both of these titles were similarly priced and I knew of the series.

Unfortunately first off, I bought the other one and felt like a "Complete Idiot" for doing so. Luckily, I saw sense to come back and buy the "Dummies" version and to say this book is far superior is a vast understatement.

George Green's and Lizzy Kremer's work is well paced for a beginner, but also has some worthy writing exercises for those who consider themselves to have slightly more experience. The tone is very informal, as seems to be the Dummies style, the humour isn't patronising and the examples are well thought-out and helpful.

But most importantly (for me anyway), this book is aimed at the UK market. All currency is in pounds, all addresses are UK-based and all chapters on income, etc, reference the UK tax system.

I suppose the aim of a self-help book is to make the reader walk away with a "can-do" attitude. This does more, it makes the reader walk away with a head full of ideas, frantically trying to find a pen.
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on 6 August 2008
I wanted an easy-to-understand book that gave great pointers without too much technobabble. I have always been happy with the Dummies books and this one is no exception. It gives good advice on the writing process as well as how to go about finding an agent and publisher.

The information on things like plot, characters and so on covers the basics but doesn't go in to a lot of detail which is fine for a Dummies book. If you want more detail on things like plot or beginnings/middles/ends, check out the books in the Elements Of Fiction Writing series.
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on 3 November 2008
This book will give you a rare and precious feeling of safety as you begin the interminable wrestle with words. It's good for beginners but it's also good for intermediates like me who are still trying to learn the art of the craft, or is it the craft of the art? I wouldn't know if it's useful for advanceds because I'm not one, but I hope to be with the help of this book. It is big, it is clever and it is funny, and it's more genius than dummy.
Matthew Connolly
(former arts critic for The Times)
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This is the kind of practical guide that you will benefit from reading all the way through at the start of the writing process so you know what you're getting yourself into! The whole book in its entirity provides a good overview of the field; not just the writing process itself but the industry too (this is the UK edition so it refers to the UK market) There are plenty of tips and pointers throughout and advice on common pitfalls.

The book, as with other 'Dummies' books in the series, is informal but informative. I recommend this as the first book you buy particularly if you are just starting out. As you go on, you may want to purchase other books that focus on giving you specific advice on genres, plots, character development, the business side of things etc.

The book is certainly motivating if a little cliched. The writers make constant use of analogy to drill home their points - there's a fair bit of repitition quite noticable if you're reading the book cover to cover but this can be overlooked when you consider the value of the book. Sometimes the advice is a bit of a jumble - probably a result of the informal chatty style its written in. You also have to rememeber that no book is going to be able to tell you everything and the goal of this book really is to get you motivated whilst teaching you a little of everything you need to know.

Overall a good starting point for budding writers, particularly if you are just starting out or if you're unsure about whether being a writer is going to be the right career choice for you.
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on 8 August 2011
This book has proved to be invaluable. It's so easy to read and it's written quite jovially, with good real experiences from authors. It brilliant for the aspiring writer
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on 22 April 2013
Not really that different to a number of similar books, but what this 'dummy' guide does is to focus on the structure and thinking behind novel writing and, in particular, what will or will not lead to publication. It's quite wordy so expect to have to work your way through quite a lot of reading before putting that pen (or print) to paper, but it is structure in such a way as to provide you with the option to work on each section of your novel as you work/read through. Interesting thoughts and suggestions...would be interesting to know if anyone really gets a novel published as a result of reading it!!
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on 25 March 2016
This book is well written and produced. And yet . . . .

If this book is the product of 20 years in the business, then the novelist and agent have learnt nothing !

They could just as well have read countless others on the market to learn the business ! ! !

So, I believe these type of books really teach you nothing of the secret world of the real novel writing business. When you read published books they are used nothing of the standard information in these novel writing manuals.

Now, I must complain about a fact of how agents treat us unpublished writers. If they must address us as DEAR AUTHOR, then we really do have the right to address them as DEAR SIR OR MADAM. But agents will NOT tolerate this ! ! !
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on 27 July 2011
Excellent read, a lot of useful info, most of which I have seen elsewhere but this puts it all together, also it gives an insight into the publisher and agents side of things - if anything it has made me more determined to publish on Kindle.
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on 16 January 2013
Purchased as a present for my 14 year old daughter, who loves writing stories - she has found it really helpful and is easy to follow and understand. Good value for money, I would recommend to anyone who enjoys writing.
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