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Writing the Blockbuster Novel
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Writing the Blockbuster Novel

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  106 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Ken Follett and Eileen Goudge, among others, have something in common: They have mastered the craft of building the compelling novels that appear on best-seller lists around the world. And here Albert Zuckerman, agent and editorial advisor to many successful authors in every genre, discloses the somewhat hidden nuts and bolts of what makes this type of book tick, and shows ...more
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published February 1st 1994 by Writer's Digest Books
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DeAnna Knippling
Yes...mostly yes. I think I'm finally to the point where this kind of thing is starting to make more sense, and I'm not caught up in issues between "Just tell me what to write" and "How dare you tell me what to write?"

This book tries to define what makes a blockbuster novel. It does lay out some shared traits like "Has multiple, entertwined POVs" and "Is mainly from a male POV but there are lots of exceptions" and "puts reader in a different, exotic locale, or makes an ordinary locale seem exoti

This book delivers on the promise of its title. No, I haven't written the blockbuster yet, but I feel better equipped now that I've read Zuckerman's book. What I liked best was that it was straightforward, practical and gave an inside look at real examples from a Ken Follett best seller, The Man from st. Petersburg, with Folletts permission. These included four drafts of an outline for the book and first drafts and the final draft of two different scenes from the book. This inside look was imme
Benjamin Thomas
About 20 years ago, I began to work more seriously toward a lifelong goal: to write and publish a novel. I invested in subscriptions to Writer's Digest and bought quite a few books on how to write novels, how to publish them, etc. I read many of them in those first few months, enough to get a good grasp on the ins and outs, but always realizing that this would be a continuous learning experience. Now, 20 years later, I've read the last book that I bought from those days. Writing the Blockbuster ...more
William Winkle
While a bit dated now, Zuckerman's general advice on how to craft a "big book" remains as fresh and accurate as ever. Much of this volume is dominated by description and analysis of Ken Follett's four outline drafts of *The Man From St. Petersburg* as well as a couple of scenes from the final text. This comprises a huge chunk of the book, and I found myself equally interested and exhausted by the treatment. I get the sense that Zuckerman was taking his best guess at why Follett made certain chan ...more
This was an amazingly good lesson for me, and no wonder! It isn't blind luck that Mr. Zuckerman is so successful. It's a heaping-full treasure chest for those commercial-novel writers who are seeking ways to improve their craftsmanship and who are willing to do the assigned reading. I'm so glad I've read the assigned novels, and it's much clearer why some novels can be huge hits with the reading public. I'm also thankful that this book got me to read some novels I probably wouldn't have consider ...more
Indra Vaughn
Read this for shits and giggles and actually found lots of useful info. I could never do the crazy super in-depth outline though, omg.
Tiana Warner
It was probably great when it was published, but in 2015 it's mostly outdated. A few nuggets but nothing totally groundbreaking.
Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya

A treasure for writers, willing to put a lot of hard work in their manuscript, in order to make it as commercially good as possible.
This book explains how to grow your writing from that of a good writer--who follows the rules of character development, crises, story arc, etc--to one who integrates them flawlessly into a novel. Chapters include What is the Big Book, the Outline Process, Larger-than-Life Characters, Big Scenes, Rhythm in Plotting--elements that every writer knows but just those few blockbuster writers implement successfully. A good find for those with a book inside of them that needs a big audience.

Be aware: He
Some really good insights into how Ken Follet works.
My absolute go-to writing book for non-lit fiction.
Misty Provencher
I wasn't sure when I ordered this book that it wasn't just a great ploy by the Writer's House master to shill his own book. I was very humbled in that opinion after reading the book. There's a reason why Zuckerman is successful and he details the how-to's of blockbuster novels beautifully. There is a lot of great information here and even the tedious picking apart of outlines, I found vastly useful and enjoyable. I apologize, Mr. Zuckerman~ you're definitely worth the read!
Nov 28, 2014 Manushadows rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writers who want to revise their creative writing drafts
Shelves: creative-writing
This book is written for already published authors and anyone wanting to perfect their novel's plot outline. It has some excellent points on how to write and re-write several revisions of your manuscript until it is perfected and until it is a blockbuster manuscript. Zuckerman takes examples of plot outlines from the Godfather, the Garden of Lies and 2 other blockbuster novels and improves and improves it many times with commentary until it reaches a blockbuster status.
James Cardona
This book was written long before ebooks so many of the assumptions the author makes have changed, however it has a tremendous amount of solid advice. I've read it once and am going back to read it a second time. I have already tweaked some of my own writing because of it. Even if you write genre fiction, I think some of the lessons in the book will help.
Phyllis Haislip
I liked both this book and HIT LIT by James W. Hall. It is useful for writer to analysis best-selling books. And both of these books do that.
Pretty good. The analysis parts were a little long, and I think I would've benefited from straight advise, but I understand why he did it.
This is an excellent book to have for tips on how to write a blockbuster book and get it published. A must have for writers like me.
Nerea Nieto
I expected way more than this. It was interesting at first, but then it got repetitive all over and over again.
Michael Shumate
Words of wisdom on story structure from one of New York's leading agents.
Аня Гай
Thats good reading^^^
Jerry marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2015
Balle Millner
Balle Millner marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2015
Viviane Azevedo
Viviane Azevedo marked it as to-read
Jun 01, 2015
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May 30, 2015
Dave Lynch
Dave Lynch marked it as to-read
May 29, 2015
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