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Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print [Paperback]

Lawrence Block
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 1985
For years, readers have turned to Lawrence Block's novels for mesmerizing entertainment. And for years, writers have turns to Block's "Writing the Novel" for candid, conversational, practical advice on how to put a publishable novel on paper.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
As another reviewer pointed out, a lot of what is in this book is also in Block's Telling Lies for Fun & Profit. I think Telling Lies is the better of the two books -- it is, in my opinion, the best book on writing I have ever read. But if you haven't read that book, or if you don't mind a bit of duplication (including sections that are reproduced essentially word for word) this one is worth picking up.
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By iqhope
I recently ordered and received Lawrence Block's book, 'Writing the Novel From Plot to Print.' IF you are very serious about writing a novel, this small book provides some thoughtful, though verbose information on tips and tricks and should and shouldn't's.
In the same order package, I purchased 'Telling Lies for Fun and Profit -- A Manuel for Fiction Writers.' I was very dissapointed to find that the second book was an almost verbatim version of the 'Writing the Novel...' book.
Keeping that in mind, if/when you order either of the books, go for the cheapest used version you can get of either because Mr. Block tells the same anecdotes, the same thoughts, and information in both books--almost verbatim.
I just wish that on either of the books information, either in Amazon or Printer's Editorial/Description, it would have been noted that the first book was a rewrite of the second (or vice versa).
As to the value of the information that is provided in either book--it's OK, but nothing earthshattering that will help you write a blockbuster novel. The text itself reads easily, as if you were having a conversation with Mr. Block in the same room. Very friendly and easy to understand--nothing you would need a college degree to comprehend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You Can write that novel ! June 24 2000
To be honest, I'm not sure if this is the book,, but I'm more sure than not. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys writing, and has wondered if he or she is qualified to write a novel. Most people CAN write a noval. They just lack someone tellng them they can. No-this is not a step by step book. But if you understand where the original ideas come from, there are plenty of books, classes, internet sources, etc. to help you along. After I read Block's book, I was angered that we the public have been duped so long into thinking that the fiction writer's craft is mysterious. It does take work, but it is doeable. The thing that amazes me, is that the public allows itsself to pay someone else to entertain it, when if it would just try some of the stuff we learned at school, and at college, we would ALL be amazed at how much better and fresher the fiction would be that's available. If this is the guy that told us how we got "psycho" this is the book.After I read the book, I was shocked at how easy the ideas can flow. I loaned it to someone. I'm buying another copy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars For Writers of Any Genera May 18 2000
As someone who finds enjoyment by writing SF&F, I was a little apprehensive about purchasing this book. Hey, this guy's a mystery writer, right? What does he know about SF&F? Well, it really doesn't matter, because what Block has written is for writers of any genera.
This is not a "how-to" book; neither is it a "guide" to writing novels. Rather, I like to think of it as a reflection book -- that is, you should approach this book as if you are discerning how you should write your book. And Block makes this clear: each writer is different and, consequently, each writer works differently -- writing may be the only profession where the end does justify the means.
The book itself is 15 chapters and a little under 200 pages. It can easily be read in a week. Block draws from his years of experience as a mystery writer and, much to my surprise, draws from experience of other writers. For example, Block relates a fine story about Justin Scott whose first novel was awful; his second, much better; his third was sold; and, finally, was able to make a nice sale several novels later.
The chapters that I found most important were: Chapter 3: "Read . . . Study . . . Analyze," where Block exhorts all writers to read and study the most recent selling books of the chosen genera; and, Chapter 13: "Rewriting," where Block talks about how different authors approach rewriting. Block also gives very practical advice on writing habits, development of style, character development, and outlining.
But perhaps the best aspect of this book is Block's encouragement. As your reading, he makes you feel that you can write a novel and that if you continue that you will sell one eventually.
A final note.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Advice May 15 2000
By oh_pete
As a young writer preparing to write a first novel I was wary of books such as Lawrence Block's WRITING THE NOVEL, but I'm thankful for the impulse that made me buy it. Block writes with a crisp and straightforward conversational tone. He's neither chummy nor condescending, and I find his advice on outlining particularly useful; he always wanted to write, was someone who started by wanted to see his name in print but who also was dedicated to the craft. Block appreciates that what works for him may not work for everybody, and he offers various examples of productive working styles, but he stresses that in all cases the successful writer is dedicated to the PROCESS of writing and understands the importance of writing steadily.
Block considers himself a craftsman. Those with high artistic pretensions would be well served to read this book for a dose of reality. The reality is that you should enjoy the work of writing, accepting the fact that "getting published" may not happen, while realizing that writing a novel is an amazing learning experience that you will always prize having done. One thing the book could use is an update for the computer word processing age. Otherwise, highly recommended.
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