Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print Paperback – Sep 1985
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Some overlap with the material in Larry Block's "Telling Lies for Fun and Profit," but I'm still not sorry I got both. He will have you in stitches.Published on March 22 2002
I've been turning to Lawrence Block's books on writing for more years now than I can remember, and I can't recommend them highly enough. Read morePublished on April 1 2000
Lawrence Block, unlike most of those who write writing books, really has been published, does this stuff for a living, and obviously loves the craft. Read morePublished on April 23 1998 by email@example.com
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