Writing Fiction For Dummies

( 37 )

Overview

A complete guide to writing and selling your novel

So you want to write a novel? Great! That’s a worthy goal, no matter what your reason. But don’t settle for just writing a novel. Aim high. Write a novel that you intend to sell to a publisher. Writing Fiction for Dummies is a complete guide designed to coach you every step along the path from beginning writer to royalty-earning author. Here are some things you’ll learn in Writing Fiction for ...

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Overview

A complete guide to writing and selling your novel

So you want to write a novel? Great! That’s a worthy goal, no matter what your reason. But don’t settle for just writing a novel. Aim high. Write a novel that you intend to sell to a publisher. Writing Fiction for Dummies is a complete guide designed to coach you every step along the path from beginning writer to royalty-earning author. Here are some things you’ll learn in Writing Fiction for Dummies:

  • Strategic Planning: Pinpoint where you are on the roadmap to publication; discover what every reader desperately wants from a story; home in on a marketable category; choose from among the four most common creative styles; and learn the self-management methods of professional writers.
  • Writing Powerful Fiction: Construct a story world that rings true; create believable, unpredictable characters; build a strong plot with all six layers of complexity of a modern novel; and infuse it all with a strong theme.
  • Self-Editing Your Novel: Psychoanalyze your characters to bring them fully to life; edit your story structure from the top down; fix broken scenes; and polish your action and dialogue.
  • Finding An Agent and Getting Published: Write a query letter, a synopsis, and a proposal; pitch your work to agents and editors without fear.

Writing Fiction For Dummies takes you from being a writer to being an author. It can happen—if you have the talent and persistence to do what you need to do.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470530702
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/2/2009
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 99,774
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Randy Ingermanson is the award-winning author of six novels. He is known around the world as "the Snowflake Guy," thanks to his Web site article on the Snowflake method, which has been viewed more than a million times. Before venturing into fiction, Randy earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley. Randy has taught fiction at numerous writing conferences and sits on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers. He also publishes the world’s largest e-zine on how to write fiction, The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. Randy’s first two novels won Christy awards, and his second novel Oxygen, coauthored with John B. Olson, earned a spot on the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list. Visit Randy’s personal Web site at www.ingermanson.com and his Web site for fiction writers at www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Peter Economy of La Jolla, California, is a bestselling author with 11 For Dummies titles under his belt, including two second editions and one third edition. Peter is coauthor of Writing Children’s Books For Dummies, Home-Based Business For Dummies, Consulting For Dummies, Why Aren’t You Your Own Boss?, The Management Bible, and many more books. Peter also serves as Associate Editor of Leader to Leader, the Apex Award-winning journal of the Leader to Leader Institute. Check out Peter’s Web site at www.petereconomy.com.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: Getting Ready to Write Fiction 7

Chapter 1: Fiction Writing Basics 9

Chapter 2: What Makes a Great Story? 21

Chapter 3: Finding Your Audience and Category 37

Chapter 4: Four Ways to Write a Great Novel 59

Chapter 5: Managing Your Time . . . and Yourself 71

Part II: Creating Compelling Fiction 85

Chapter 6: Building Your Story World: The Setting for Your Story 87

Chapter 7: Creating Compelling Characters 107

Chapter 8: Storyline and Three-Act Structure: The Top Layers of Your Plot 135

Chapter 9: Synopsis, Scene List, and Scene: Your Middle Layers of Plot 157

Chapter 10: Action, Dialogue, and More: The Lowest Layer of Your Plot 177

Chapter 11: Thinking Through Your Theme 203

Part III: Editing and Polishing Your Story and Characters 215

Chapter 12: Analyzing Your Characters 217

Chapter 13: Scrutinizing Your Story Structure 239

Chapter 14: Editing Your Scenes for Structure 259

Chapter 15: Editing Your Scenes for Content 273

Part IV: Getting Published 291

Chapter 16: Getting Ready to Sell Your Book: Polishing and Submitting 293

Chapter 17: Approaching Agents and Editors 315

Part V: The Part of Tens 327

Chapter 18: Ten Steps to Analyzing Your Story 329

Chapter 19: Ten Reasons Novels Are Rejected 337

Index 345

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What are you waiting for? Buy this book!

    It used to be that finding good books on writing fiction was about as hard as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Nowadays, successful writers have stepped forward to provide concise, easy-to-understand information on the subject. Randy Ingermanson is at the head of that movement.

    "Writing Fiction for Dummies" is now my go-to guide for all things writing. It has a proud slot on the top shelf of my bookcase where I keep all my favorite books, but it's almost never up there, because I can't stop taking it down and flipping through its pages to glean more wisdom.

    Bottom line, everything you need to know about writing fiction is contained within this book. If you're a writer at any stage of the journey toward becoming an author, do yourself a favor and buy this book. You won't regret it.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I lost my patience with this book

    I haven't read the entire book yet because it was so annoying. It kept talking about how I shouldn't worry about getting my book published over and over and I just got to the point where I screamed at my Nook "I DON'T CARE! Tell me HOW to write dammit!" I don't care about publishing my book yet because I just wanted to learn HOW to write fiction. Publishing comes way later in the process so why would I even be worried about it yet? What I wanted to learn was difficult to learn because it would not shut up about publishing. It was like the book was worried that I would be worried that they wouldn't tell me how to publish but that is so way off into the future that I just don't care. I feel like if they said at the beginning that they will teach me how to write fiction now then teach me how to publish at the end of the book then I would have stayed with it. I started to get the impression that this book is not going to teach me anything so I lost my patience with it and gave up.

    6 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2010

    Excellent!

    The 'Dummies' title should really go away. This is a book for anyone who ever entertained writing fiction. He makes the process clear and to-the-point.I have been a newspaper reporter all my life, but have never written fiction. Now I have a road map for how to plot my novel. I am confident. This book is my guide -- but could also be the guide for readers who have never written professionally.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A great addition to your resource library

    In Writing Fiction for Dummies, Christy Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson and bestselling author Peter Economy present a no-nonsense, step-by-step approach to crafting a novel. They outline everything a beginning fiction writer needs to know, from fine-tuning your idea and identifying your target audience, to putting together a book proposal and approaching editors. They cover the mechanics, too. Characterization, setting, dialogue, story structure - all the elements of a great novel. To illustrate the skills presented, they include plenty of examples from published novels, some well-known and some a little more obscure, but all extremely helpful. Of course, being a speculative fiction fan from way back, I really appreciated the examples from sci-fi classic Ender's Game.


    Even though I don't consider myself a "dummy" when it comes to fiction, I found the book really helpful. I enjoy reading what successful writers have to say about the craft of writing. Some of the skills Ingermanson and Economy described were refreshers for me, things I already knew but don't focus on all the time. For example, the section on scene structure really helped me in my current task of revising my current manuscript. I needed a reminder about reactive and proactive scenes, and when I finished reading Writing Fiction for Dummies, I felt more confident in my revision. Other sections of this book were new to me, like the tips for analyzing problem areas of my stories. I love learning something new!


    The writing in Writing Fiction for Dummies is clear, clean, and easy to understand. The authors' conversational style and occasional humor kept me reading. Passages like this one made chuckle out loud: Every author thinks that he is the lone exception and can get away with writing pages of backstory in chapter one because the reader is dying to know it. This is a lie from the pits of hell. At other times I wanted to grab my highlighter, or clip sections of text to send to my critique partners.


    In other words, you don't have to be a dummy to learn from Writing Fiction for Dummies!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2010

    For all writers, new or experienced

    This book tells the beginning writer how to make the leap to published author. It shows how to tackle characters, plot and theme, and then how to refine them by editing and polishing. It emphasizes that most vital element of all in a compelling book, writing a powerful emotional experience for the reader. It helps the writer with the smallest pieces of a scene, "clips," right on up to the largest issue of theme.

    But this book isn't just for the new or beginning writer. Even experienced writers get stuck occasionally, perhaps even in that most dreaded trap, the writer's block. This book, with information on everything from dialogue to the three-act structure, can help that stuck writer get going again.

    This is a book that belongs on every writer's shelf. First, to help you get started as a writer, and then to refer to anywhere in your journey as an author.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Ahh, Randy. What a funny guy

    Review by Jill Williamson

    Randy Ingermanson is my hero. I have been learning from him since I discovered his website in 2005. The man is not only a wealth of information, he teaches in such a fun and friendly way, you can't fail to learn. And now, everything Randy teaches is here in one convenient package. Man, how I wish he had written this a few years ago! It would have saved me a lot of trouble.

    I highly recommend this book to any writer, but especially to beginners who want to write a novel. You'll learn how to come up with a plot and test it to see if it's strong, how to create amazing characters that are deep and engaging, how to plot your story and avoid the dreaded sagging middle, how to keep the tension and pacing strong, and how to edit your novel. This book even includes cool things like an interview between J.R.R. Tolkien and Frodo Baggins. Ahh, Randy. What a funny guy.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 2, 2012

    redundant. that is the absolute best word to describe this book.

    redundant. that is the absolute best word to describe this book. I believe you could cut 30-50% of the pages out of this book because every chapter her writes about every aspect of story structure, POV, writing paradign, etc. over and over merely choosing to add a little bit more on one or the other based upon what the chapter is titled. It leaves the book feeling shallow when It would have been better to use those very pages to go deep into every aspect with better examples then are provided. Though i will admit that if helped me solidify A lot that I already knew but didn't quite know how to express, It failed horribly as a how two not because of the abilities of the authors but because of a very poor use of space management, which is ironic because it seems as if he paid no attention to some of the very rules he was writing about. If you just want a 340 page overview of writing fiction this is the book for you. I you want to actually know how to write look some place else. -N

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    All novel writers--novice to experienced--need this book!

    Regardless of where you are in your novel-writing career, you need this book. Whether you're brand-spanking new at novel writing or you have a few published books under your belt, in some respect or another (maybe many others), you're still a dummy about the writing biz. I would have loved to have this book when I began my first novel. And I'm thrilled to have it now, after publishing four. Early in Writing Fiction for Dummies, Ingermanson categorizes writers as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors, and the book guides writers at every one of those levels. But as a post-grad (I assume), I still found plenty of ways my novel writing could be tightened and deepened.

    Ingermanson is well known on the conference circuit for his methodical approach to creativity, dispelling the myths that you're not smart enough or talented enough to write a novel. He doesn't sap one's right-hemisphere flow; he encourages it to flow in the best possible way--so it creates a story that will draw your readers in and stay with them long after they read the last word. Highly recommended!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great tool for aspiring fiction writers

    I wish I would've had Writing Fiction for Dummies when I wrote my first novel several years ago. Such a wealth of information! I appreciate the authors taking a multi-faceted approach, giving room for different types of plotters. I also applaud the attention to scene structure and self editing. If you're starting this journey, or you're partway through and you don't quite know how to continue, or you're farther along but want some excellent tips, this is an informational and inspirational read. It's such a holistic resource that I plan on using it when I teach fiction.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    Wow! So helpful!

    I thought this book was so helpful. I have the first draft of one book that I just don't know how to edit, and I'm writing several others right now. "Writing Fiction for Dummies" helped me with both. This book helped to guide me and will help me when I try to get something published.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    For a beginner there's more info than you need

    For someone who has no idea how to write a fiction novel, there is more info than you need. So I would recommend it to begin with as you don't have to read from front to back before you get started in your fiction novel writing. As you write, you can access it for more information. Like working on details and editing and then, if you so choose, getting your work publish ready.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Hmmm

    Is this book helpful for young (as in grade-school) writers? ;)

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    I cant believe...

    ...how great this book turned out to be. It would be impossible to write a (fiction) book without this handy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2014

    This is a good entry level book for wannabe writers. It¿s certai

    This is a good entry level book for wannabe writers. It’s certainly not the ultimate guide or the only source you’ll ever reference, but if you don’t know anything about writing fiction, it’s a really good book to start with. Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy break writing fiction down into its fundamental components so that it’s easy to understand. They then build up from there to show how all of those components work together to help you write fiction in a way that works. There are sections on structuring your story, building strong character bios, creating scenes step-by-step, and how to get one scene to flow seamlessly into the next until you have a story.

    As a pantser, one who writes by the seat of their pants, I found the idea of structuring my novel up front to be interesting and I tried it for the second novel I wrote. I was concerned that having an outline wouldn’t stifle my creativity, but instead it gave me a trail to follow. I now write everything with a very loose outline and that often changes as I go, but it helps to know where I’m going before I write my first word.

    Like all Dummies books, Writing Fiction for Dummies contains checklists at the end of each chapter to help you review and retain the information you just read. Probably the sections I found most useful were those on editing. For me, first drafts come easy, but editing is the bane of my existence. Dummies helped me structure and execute drafts in the same way that I structured and outlined my first draft.

    Additionally, the book contains useful information on writing a pitch, synopsis, query letter, and how to go about searching for and identifying appropriate agents in order to get published.

    Bottom Line
    How to Write Fiction for Dummies is a solid entry-level reference and if you’ve never written any fiction and don’t know where to start, I highly recommend it. Randy Ingermanson is also known as The Snowflake Guy and takes a scientific approach to writing. He developed a software application for structuring and writing fiction, called Snowflake Pro. If you buy Writing Fiction for Dummies, Randy offers a 50% discount off of Snowflake Pro. Not a bad deal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    This book is great for all ages

    I'm 14 and love to write, but never had the confidence to start on a novel. This book gave me the confidence by giving me a step by step guide on how to get on the road to publication.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    The table 4-I section is almost unreadable

    The book is loaded with little typos though I think the most difficult part is the 4-I section to find what writing method works for you, this section is almost unreadable with words from one question running into the next to form single word jibberish.

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    Posted September 20, 2013

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    Posted December 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2010

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews

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