How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Steb-By-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling / Edition 1

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"At last. A damn good how-to book about writing a novel. Practical, down to earth, easily assimilated advice, presented with humor and authority."—Irma Ruth Walker, author of Air Force Wives

"Frey has the genius of a true teacher: a thorough knowledge of his subject, combined with the ability to entertain while communicating that knowledge. This book has practical adviuce for serious writers."—Donna Levin, author of Extraordinary Means

"Superb. The kind of book that should be kept by every author next to the typewriter. Frey not only includes the basics of good writing, but the invaluable hints of how to add depth and texture to a novel. Inspiring and clear, the book gives detailed examples of common pitfalls and how to correct them . . . Not only instructive but pleasurable."—Alla Crone, author of Winds Over Manchuria and East Lies the Sun

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312010447
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1987
  • Series: How to Write a Damn Good Novel Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 270,445
  • Product dimensions: 6.23 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

James N. Frey is the author of the internationally bestselling How to Write a Damn Good Novel and How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II, as well as nine novels. He has taught and lectured on creative writing at several different schools and conferences throughout the U.S. and Europe.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 24, 2009

    Read and Learn!

    This is the kind of book that you read for the humour the scathing remarks and the blatent flaunting of all the rules. Yet it is so cleverly written that you find yourself learning things that quite frankly none of the other how to books teach you.
    It may be intended as a tongue in cheek guide to writing the novel but it actually shows up some major points that are often over looked by other 'how to' authors.
    I would consider it a must for all writing groups and creative writing courses. It takes away so much of the pompous attitude too many writers have about themselves.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2000

    One of the best books I've read on novel-writing

    Along with Renni Brown's Self Editing for Fiction Writers and Bird by Bird, this has become one of my favorite books on writing. I just read it and am amazed at how good it was. I expected another ho-humish how-to with the same old Writers Digest advice but got instead exciting insights, analysis of fine literature, and professional tips on how to improve my novel. I especially liked the way the author kept referring to several master works (A Christmas Carol, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Madam Bovary, Lolita, and The Godfather) to illustrate his points about how to have a premise, internal and exter conflict, and a satisfying climax. I loved the tips for avoiding melodrama and producing dramatic literature instead, as well as the original suggestions for improving dialogue, tips I have not encountered in a other books. I am a journalist seven-eigths done with my first novel and think this book would be great for both beginners and those who have been working on their craft for years. Frey has something unique to say and says it so well that it is a treat to read. His gift of self-expression and insights into writing make the qualities of fine fiction understandable and something one can learn to reproduce. The book has a scholarly foundation (with helpful references and research) and original premises but is very funny and entertaining, too.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2000

    A Blueprint to Success

    Since the publication of my bestselling suspense novel, Wake Up Dead, I field a continuous stream of questions from would-be writers on advice for getting published. My answer is always the same: buy Frey's book, How To Write A Damn Good Novel. I bought it. I read it. I followed his instructions. I earned publication in a national fiction contest. It is the best-written, most concise, witty, and thorough book-writing tutorial out there--and I've read them all. What was the first thing I did before starting my second novel? I reread Frey's book! Thank you, James.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    If you want to learn how to write damn good...Meet Mr. Frey

    This is another in the group of "Damn Good" series. James N. Frey, not to be confused with the James Frey of recent infamy, is an accomplished writer and educator. I have his entire collection of "How to Write a Damn Good...." texts. While highly educational and instuctive, Mr. Frey has a great sense of humor which is exhibited throughout the text. His method of instruction is precise and covers the gamit of the particular subject he is presenting. I thought that there would be a lot of repetition since there is a universality to the art of writing. There are occasional references to other books in his series but rather than rehashing a subject covered in a previous book, he presents that theory or procedure as thoroughly necessary and refers you to other reading in his text or elsewhere. His examples are well written and right on topic...Additionally, he is reachable...He actually answers e mails, when he has the time......

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    An Absolute Necessity!

    Oh! It turns out that "How to Write a Damn Good Novel" is a damn good book! Anyone planning to write a novel or improve their skills MUST buy this book! I read it in less than one week with my hectic schedule. It was so engrossing that I could hardly put it down!

    This book is a thorough and insightful guide, which provides all of the steps for writing a complex and captivating novel. Mr. Frey provides rich, critical, and intricate information in a lively and moving manner; and with some humor. He often indicates why certain techniques or approaches are preferred, which includes the foundation and evolution of the novel.

    Perhaps what is most impressive about "How to Write a Damn Good Novel" is Mr. Frey's insistence on using quality writing to satisfy the (your) prospective novel reader. Mr. Frey eschews the use of "cheap tricks" to manipulate readers.

    Mr. Frey's sincerity is reflected in his discussion of the difficulties and pitfalls of novelists, and his advise on how to avoid or eliminate them.

    In his discussion of the appropriate use of symbols in novels, Mr. Frey discloses how many readers and writers of novels have been lost, due to the typical "academic" study of the obscure - and perhaps nonexistent - symbols in novels. This is absolutely true, because I am one of those people! Now, however, I hope to soon become a successfully published author - after applying the principles of this book!

    I highly recommend "How to Write a Damn Good Novel" to anyone!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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