Book review

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How not to write a novel

Who’s it by?

Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. Newman is a novelist and Mittelmark a ghostwriter. Both have been ‘teaching, editing, writing and reviewing fiction’ for a long time.

What’s it about?

All the major areas of writing that any novelist needs to know about: plot, character, style, pace, beginnings, dialogue… you name it. If it matters, it is in here.

What is it not about?

They don’t cover literary fiction, and they don’t pretend to be highbrow.

Why buy it?

Firstly, because it is so entertaining. It is a genuinely funny book. Secondly, and more importantly, the authors know their stuff and know how to put it over. Everything wannabe novelists should not do is illustrated with a cringeworthy and memorable example, and these stick in the mind better than a list of rules ever could. This is not the only book fiction writers should read and it will not teach you all the nuances of the craft but it will stop you making some basic, very common, mistakes.  It is a paperback, it is not expensive and it covers a huge range of issues.

Posted on February 14, 2014 .