How Not To Write A Novel, by Mittelmark & Newman

How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them--A Misstep-by-Misstep GuideHow Not to Write a Novel. Finished 8-26-08, rating 4.5/5, how-to/writing, pub. 2008

“As a writer you have only one job:to make the reader turn the page.”    page 1

If there is one thing this How-Not-To book does it is to make you turn the page.  You won’t want to stop, really.  This hilarious book focuses on the 200 most common mistakes that unpublished authors make and offers solutions.  It provides examples of the bad writing that it is offering up for ridicule, followed by an explanation and how to fix it (if you want to be published).  Let me provide a couple of examples…

“While it is your job to know a great deal about your characters, it is seldom necessary to share it all with the reader, and by ‘seldom,’ we mean ‘never.’ ”      page 10

“…you should think twice before using an exclamation mark.  If you have thought twice and the exclamation mark is still there, think about it three times, or however many times it takes until you delete it.”      page 111

The book covers all points of your novel from plot and style to dealing with the publishing world.  This is a must have for anyone writing, or even just thinking about writing, a novel.  Every fiction writer will gain insight from this book and be completely entertained along the way.  I found myself laughing out loud more than once, shaking my head at the poor writer being scorned until I came to the next mistake and realized that the poor writer was me.  Highly recommended for all writers of fiction.

“However, if you have perversely refused to use the lessons offered in this book as we intended, and instead avoided each of the mistakes we describe, perhaps you now find yourself a published author.  In that case, our follow-up book, How Not to Make a Living Wage, will be indispensable.”    -the last page

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