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How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A…
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How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to…

by James N. Frey

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Formulae are for math class and baby feeding, not for writing. Still, it does point out a few things useful to a writer wannabe. Curiously, I've never run across any of James Frey's novels. ( )
  Murphy-Jacobs | Mar 30, 2013 |
I buy a lot of "how to write" books and never read them. It's a way to appear professional about my writing without actually having to DO any.
So the other day I pulled this one out of my shelf because I am having trouble with a character in my novel who just will NOT behave interestingly, and Mr. Frey gave me the answer right away, set my grey cells to pumping and got me back in the seat. Best writing book I've read in a long time - unlike Sol Stein's books, it isn't all about the author. James Frey puts it on the line in clear, elegant, fast reading and fast thinking prose. Now I'm a total fan. If you haven't read it, get it and READ it. ( )
  Dabble58 | May 7, 2012 |
I can't think how many years I have had this book and only read up to the first chapter. I have several writerly books that tell you how to do it. This is just one, and the credentials of the author are not as great as some others on the craft.

That being said (written) does this book add to my path in becoming a better writer and working on my craft? Frey does give some solid guidelines that should not be ignored but he as so many want to do is tell a writer the formula that has been working for them and that their path is the way.

Read three books on the craft by three authors and you will find three paths. And should you meticulously follow the path of the best selling amongst them, you will not find your way to emulating that success necessarily.

So take in context that Frey can add to the journey. Work on character, work on premise. Work on what else Frey has provided. He fails in that he describes some useful tools, such as his stepsheet, but does not give a visual representation of one, where he easily could. Or when working on characters, a list of examples to get one started when you wish to 'interview' your character would have added to the work.

It is a slim piece, at 170 pages and then he followed this up with a second book, and then some genre specific work as well. It leads me to believe that he knew he had more to write, but cut it. A couple evenings reading and what he shares is added to the melting pot.

For those who are honing their craft it is a good addition. Not the be all and end all of what you need. You do need more than Frey has, but it would be a good first book, or third, or tenth book to add to your own lesson plan on becoming a better writer. ( )
1 vote DWWilkin | Aug 9, 2011 |
Advice from a professional writer, directed to a specific type of novel, dramatic fiction, but embracing all genres.
Good practical suggestions, but heavy on his own style. ( )
1 vote librisissimo | Apr 5, 2011 |
Audio version
Excellent information backed up by illustrations. ( )
  JoAnnSmithAinsworth | Jan 21, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312010443, Hardcover)

Written in a clear, crisp, accessible style, this book is perfect for beginners as well as professional writers who need a crash course in the down-to-earth basics of storytelling. Talent and inspiration can't be taught, but Frey does provide scores of helpful suggestions and sensible rules and principles.

An international bestseller, How to Write a Damn Good Novel will enable all writers to face that intimidating first page, keep them on track when they falter, and help them recognize, analyze, and correct the problems in their own work.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:02 -0400)

Covers characterization, plot, theme, conflicts, climax and resolution, point of view, dialogue, revision, and manuscript submission

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