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Writing Fiction for Dummies (For Dummies)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  1,089 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
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-
ebook, 384 pages
Published November 5th 2009 by For Dummies (first published October 27th 2009)
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Mar 04, 2013 Bucket rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin this review by saying that I'm usually *not* a fan of the Dummies series. I hate the fonts and layout, they're odd-sized and ugly, and the information harbored within is almost always sub-par. Let me also point out that I am *not* a Dummy or a beginner, but an experienced writer who has read upwards of 20 books about the craft of writing.

So I was surprised that I really, really liked this book.

If you're looking for advice about craft, the finer points of good prose, or syntax, look
Wes Harris
Dec 31, 2010 Wes Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. I don't always read Dummies books cover to cover because they are how-to guides but this one was great. I've recently read several writing books and I regularly listen to a writing podcast. This book explained many of the key concepts that I have run into in other books in a clear and concise manner and added some additional tools/approaches. They didn't settle for hand-waving they got down into the nitty gritty and really helped me understand how-to-write in a way that I hadn't ...more
Morgan Ives
Jun 10, 2010 Morgan Ives rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remember all those articles you've read on writing? Some were useful, some were not. If you're like me, you've collected those useful articles for years. Yet I always wished they could be collected in a single place.

"Writing Fiction for Dummies" does that! It is by far the best, most comprehensive book I've read on the subject of writing fiction (and I've read dozens). Highlights that I found especially useful:

- How to create (or fix) characters so they resonate with readers.
- How to balance the
Robert Bidinotto
I downloaded Writing Fiction for Dummies with some trepidation, figuring that any book with a title like that had to be hack-work. And that it also had to contain tips and advice redundant with every one of the dozens of other books I've read on fiction-writing. I thought that, by now, I'd read about everything to be said on the topic.

Boy, was I wrong.

This is THE best book on fiction-writing. Bar none. Period. End of story. It is THE most systematic, comprehensive, creatively fertile, and techni
Heather Mims
Apr 05, 2015 Heather Mims rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-have
Books about writing are an addiction of mine, though I never bothered to read this one until it was offered on Kindle Unlimited. I assumed it would be overly simplistic, dumbed down to the point that only writing novices would gain any insight from its contents. Happy to say I was wrong about that! This book offers unique perspectives on everything from writing summaries to plot structure and character development, including quite a few suggestions that i've never found anywhere else. Though the ...more
Mar 23, 2015 Gypsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

وخ ندارم حقیقتاً. ولی باید اینا رو بگم؛ ذهنمو باز کرد. و دقیقاً چیزایی رو گف که دنبالش بودم. ازینرو، ازونکتابایی هس که هر از گاهی باید یهگریزی بهش بزنم و آدم نمیتونه جلوی خودشو بگیره که زیر جملههاش خط نکشه. هر چقدم ازینکار خوشش نیاد و بهنظرش بیاحترامی باشه.( آره میدونم خیلی الکی حسّاسم. :| ) خیلی مفصّل امّا نه خستهکننده، آروم آروم خواننده رو دنبال خودش میکشید و قدم بهقدم، بهش آگاهی میداد. خودمم نمیفهمم چرا بهش پنج نمیدم. :)) شاید بهاینخاطر که خیلی همه چیـو با هم کنار هم گذاشته بود و بهموازات هم
Apr 10, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Labeba Salameh
الكتاب اكثر من رائع
ان كنت تفكر في كتابة عمل روائي او كنت قد بدأت رواية ما ولكنك حائر في كيفية ضبطها.. نشرها .. او حتى انهائها فهذا هو الكتاب الأمثل
متسلسل بخطوات واضحة لكنها لا تعني ابدا ان التأليف مجرد معادلة كيميائية

Sep 25, 2011 Jack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book, but I didn't. It is highly-rated both here and on Amazon, and I am familiar with Ingermanson's website "Advanced Fiction Writing." I figured I would give it a shot.

I think part of the problem is that this book sticks to the Dummies format of step-by-step instructions, helpful hints, and a beginning-to-end process. The problem is that there isn't a strict process in writing, which to be fair to Ingermanson, he does point out (before giving a step-by-step process). What
Jill Williamson
Jan 04, 2010 Jill Williamson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sara Farinha
Aug 28, 2012 Sara Farinha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mind-tools
Cinco estrelas. Um autêntico e útil manual de escrita ficcional que nos ensina, passo a passo, a desmistificar alguns dos paradigmas da boa ficção. Um livro a ter à mão quando pensamos em escrever, quando analisamos a nossa produção literária, ou quando nos predispomos a rever de forma séria o que escrevemos.

Parte de uma colecção que se predispõe a ajudar o leitor a compreender de forma fácil, mas aprofundada, diversos temas, este exemplar não foge a esse princípio. Com a tónica no ‘for dummies’
Abdullah Aljumah
Feb 15, 2013 Abdullah Aljumah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've not read the whole book cover to cover. I actually skipped the parts I already know. It is a good reference for starters. It certainly gives you some useful insights about developing characters, scenes...etc. I'm going to keep it as a reference and refer to it whenever needed. While it mostly concentrates on novel writing, it is definitely recommended for any one interested in fiction writing.
C.M. Skiera
This book has a lot of good information and is a very helpful writing guide. The main reason I only gave it three stars is because it suffers from the same type of bloat I see in a lot of writing guides. Too much repeating the same information and too much cross-referencing (i.e., "we discuss this topic more in Chapter Two...etc., etc.).
Feb 07, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for my creative writing class and found it pretty helpful. It's an easy read and full of relevant advice for aspiring writers. I'll probably hold onto it for future reference when I need to troubleshoot specific issues.
Margaret Metz
Jun 12, 2010 Margaret Metz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Fun to read with lots of helpful insights. I liked the way they used known books as examples. They did a very good job of using examples all the way through. Some writing books just tell and don't show. ;o) This is one I can see myself referring to again in the future.
Tiana Dalichov
Nov 02, 2013 Tiana Dalichov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full of amazing advice. I highly recommend this to all authors!
Julex Aguila
Feb 06, 2017 Julex Aguila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing Fiction for Dummies is a very helpful book to writers who wanted to start to create their own world and share it to other people.

I love this book due to its "language" used. I can easily understand the topic and learn from the side notes and examples. I can also navigate the book base on the topic I want to check.

Overall, I can recommend it to all aspiring authors as a basic tool needed.


Nov 21, 2016 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
I think this book is an excellent book for new writers. Especially for those writers who have never published. The authors bring up the Goal, conflict, disaster scene and then the following Reaction, dilemma and decision scene.

The book also offers help in getting your new novel into the hands of Agents and Editors.
Zara West
Feb 07, 2017 Zara West rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-tips
Following the pattern of all the "Dummies" books, this book provides the basics of story structure. Full of clear cut advice and handy for the beginning writer.
T.H. Hernandez
Apr 24, 2014 T.H. Hernandez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
David Roberts
Jul 31, 2013 David Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book I wrote to research this post was Writing Fiction For Dummies by Peter Economy et al which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This book is about how to write a novel and get a publishing contract. It covers all the different genres and tells you what general rules there are for each. One sub genre is literary fiction were the book can be any genre but in addition is beautifully written and quite complex. Children's fiction doesn't generally allow swearing. Of course a very ...more
Oct 28, 2013 Nazire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-writing
When this book first caught my eye I thought it was more specific to writing fiction, not a novel, which aren't necessarily the same things. However, it is a great beginner's guide. I am glad I bought it and to this day it remains on my bookshelf along with other books on writing. There's too much emphasis on being able to publish the manuscript you're writing, which I found distasteful, but it is the way the writing world works, so very understandable. There's another dummies book for writing a ...more
Janne Varvára
Sep 11, 2016 Janne Varvára rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Doesn't really contain anything a reader wouldn't know, and is sprinkled with questionable attitudes.
Dec 17, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I wasn't going to read this, just going to flick through it, but you know what, it is really interesting.

Talks about the way to structure a novel and the writing process, how to develop characters, plot, conflict, in order to produce something that is marketable. Yes I know, the idea of 'writing to sell' is a horrible, sold-out, etc, etc, but you need to know the rules before you break them eh? :) That said I found the process described to be very helpful and instructive. It may take some of th
Michael Griswold
Writing Fiction for Dummies succeeds where other books on writing fiction fall short. Many books on fiction writing turn fiction writing into such a Herculean exercise that it can actually discourage the young writer from even picking up a pen or opening a new word processor document. Ingermanson and Economy are always encouraging and uplifting in their advice, though not understating the difficulty of the task of writing a great novel, providing various examples along the way to illustrate what ...more
Jared Millet
Dec 14, 2009 Jared Millet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, writing
It's taken me a while to nibble through this book, but it's an invaluable resource for any writer. Most writing books I set aside when I'm done, but never refer back to. This one I plan to keep handy on my shelf and dip back in on a regular basis.

The authors, Ingermanson and Economy, are proponents of the idea that good fiction is designed, whether before the initial draft or after, and they set out the steps to go about it in a systematic way, from the large-scale themes of a novel to the const
Sep 04, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ca
Jul 25, 2013 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is truly excellent and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand why structure, POV, plot layers and so much more are so important to the craft of storytelling. Seat-of-your-pants writers, edit-as-you-go and top-down or bottom-up plotters and planners can all benefit from the principles illuminated in these pages. Rules are made to be broken though, aren't they? Of course! Randy Ingermanson seems perfectly alright with that but if your goal is to elicit from the reader a powerfu ...more
Ryan Winstead
It's one of those "everyone can write a novel if they just pick up a pen!" books. Of course, these are wonderful for motivation, or feeling good about yourself, but just because you start writing a novel, following carefully the guidelines of this book, doesn't mean it will become a best seller. And that's all it was: guidelines on how to get writing and finish your book. I preferred Steven King's On writing considerably more; it offered insightful advice on the dos and don'ts of writing that ...more
May 18, 2012 J.L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not appreciate being in the “Dummies” target market, but Writing Fiction for Dummies has been a great help to me, so if the shoe fits...

As a visitor to Randy Ingermanson’s site, I was familiar with some of its material, but his book takes learning how to write compelling fiction to a whole new level.

No book will help you do the work and, make no mistake, writing a novel is a lot of work. But if you want a comprehensive guide to: 1) help you select an approach to writing, 2) create a compell
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  • Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer
  • Story Structure Architect: A Writer's Guide to Building Plots, Characters and Complications
  • The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need To Know About Creating & Selling Your Work (Writers Digest)
  • Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play
  • Description & Setting
  • Revision & Self-Editing: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft Into a Finished Novel
  • The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life
  • Getting the Words Right
  • Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now
  • How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques For Dramatic Storytelling
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
I'm a novelist, physicist, and fiction teacher. People around the world call me "the Snowflake Guy" because of my wildly popular "Snowflake method" for writing a novel.

I've published 6 novels and won about a dozen awards for my writing. I'm a theoretical physicist with a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. I publish the world's largest electronic newsletter on how to write fiction. I run the software divisio
More about Randy Ingermanson...

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