marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

How to Write a Damn Good Novel

How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey

This book has got some good advice.  About dialog, about conflict and what is needed to keep it going, and how to keep it rising steadily, about characters, even -- even though his advice about building all your characters first and then getting to the plot is not sound for all writers.

Even if he does over-tout the "premise".  All right, I'm cynical; it did not help that he spent over a page gushing about how great it is before getting around to telling us.  And yes, you do need to have unity of theme and it does help, for that, to know what forces you have set loose in the story.  But he overdoes it.  Especially when he tells you to figure it out and then work out the story accordingly.  It can arise from the story.  And when revising -- no you don't have to change the story because it no longer fits the premise you started with.  As long as it has unity of theme, let it act according to its nature.

Tags: conflict, how-to-write books, non-historical non-fiction reviews, unity of theme

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