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The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need To Know About Creating & Selling Your Work (Writers Digest)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  360 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Get advice from the best in the business on every part of the novel writing and publishing process

In "The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 2nd Edition," you'll learn from the invaluable advice of established writers. Discover new ways to generate ideas, implement intriguing techniques, and find the inspiration you need to finish your work. This fully-revised edition in

Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Published (first published July 15th 2002)
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This books is great for anyone who is either a)already an author, or b)starting to write. Great tips!
This is surprisingly a very dense, thorough, and wonderful collection of essays on writing. It’s not insipid or corny, like books on writing that tell you to let your juices flow and let the angels move you and anyone can write and all that. It’s also not as mean, maybe, as John Gardner. It’s realistic, and I would say it’s probably a better resource for beginning and intermediate writers than a lot of other works. It proves what I often stress, that I’ve learned the most about writing from, and ...more
This book has advice for every aspect and genre of writing. This is one of the first books I read when I switched to writing fiction, and parts of it were immensely helpful. Some of this advice I've hear again in many other writing books, but others I've never heard again elsewhere despite the fact I found it insightful. I'd recommend this book to beginning writers.
This book tells you how to choose how you want to write your book in first person, 2nd, 3rd. Also explains how to get a publisher and what to look for. Talks about plots, characters, etc. Just a lot of useful information in here.
Jason Armstrong
Writing good fiction and getting published is hard. Giving crappy advice on how to write is apparently the easiest thing in the world.
D. Hathaway
Nov 03, 2014 D. Hathaway rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writers, especially those just starting out
This book was insanely helpful to me. I've used a lot of the tips contained within - especially the idea of keeping a journal as you're writing in order to document where your brain is and possibly some ideas that you aren't yet ready to completely flesh out. The book was chock full of useful tips like that, and examples of things that other writers use to get through the process. It was presented in a format of articles and interviews that made it easy to set down the book when necessary, and t ...more
Donald Jessop
Feb 21, 2015 Donald Jessop rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Aspiring Writers
The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need To Know About Creating & Selling Your Work is not a book written by a single person, or even a team of people. The number of contributors to this tome is huge and, for some, that diversity is a detriment. For me, however, I loved the variety and diversity of the topics and insights.

When I purchased the book I also picked up some PostIt tabs, little plastic markers that I could put in the book to highlight something of importance tha
This book is informative and helpful.I bought this book to help me with my writing structure and guidance in different fields of writing.I was uncertain about where to start with my writing even though I have some unfinished manuscripts that I want to be published.Well, this book gave me some ideas on how to start writing a book,and also for me to look over my manuscripts and what needs to be done.THE COMPLETE HANDBOOK OF NOVEL WRITING covers all avenues that get you started or help you on your ...more
John Hanson
I think a strength of this book is each three page section is a stand alone essay. The authors are experienced and credible, and they focus. Typically in writing books the author's energy is spread out over the book. Each chapter is solid, but not as deep as they might be. They are limited by editorial process. In this format each author jumps into the guts of the matter with minimal introduction and maximal force. Still, some of the essays are on the thin, abstract side. They cover topics that ...more
(Review taken from blog at

This book is one of the best sources of advice, knowledge, and inspiration an aspiring writer could hope for. Each section starts with encouraging quotes about writing, and most of the chapters (written by accomplished, published writers) contain guidance and insights into writing habits that will comfort novices persistently doubting their potential and abilities. If you can identify with the mindset of any of the featured writers—and the
As other reviewers have noted, calling this volume a handbook is a bit of a stretch. It isn't a unified and organized vision of how to go about writing a novel. Rather, it's a compendium of diverse essays on novel writing that have been organized so as to fall, more or less, within a number of general categories, such as "Plot & Structure" and "Revision & Editing." That said, this was an exceedingly helpful book to read and it provides a good, if somewhat disjointed, overview of the chal ...more
Denyse Loeb
Another collaboration of writers on writing a novel, this one 445 pages and 55 chapters long. Authors include Sue Grafton, Terry Brooks, and Janet Fitch, among others, and has interviews of Margaret Atwood, Tom Clancy, Terry McMillan, Joyce Carol Oates, and several other well known writers. It begins with basics in The Craft, discusses more advanced techniques in The Art, continues on to The Process, takes a side trip into The Genres, and finishes up with The Marketplace and The Interviews. Most ...more
Chad Schimke
THE COMPLETE HANDBOOK OF NOVEL WRITING - This book does achieve a lot--in terms of providing advice from established authors--but any aspect that rises to the level ‘complete’ stops there. In The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing from Writer’s Digest, the topics covered pertain to the craft and business of writing, followed up by select interviews. While there is valuable information contained therein, the overall effect is a bit of a hodgepodge, because it’s not really a how-to book, as the ti ...more
I do have to say that this is a valuable resource to all those that wish to embark in the fantastic, craze and sometimes tedious world of novel writing. It does provide great advice from some of the most recognized authors in specific genres.

This is just a series of short articles put together to provide great insight in general lines as to what are some of the most basic recommendations. This book offers advice in general, and is not specific nor tailored to a specific genre. If potential write
Excellent advice on creating character, writing dialogue, and plotting. I usually use these types of books only as reference and pick and choose what I read, but something made me decide to read this book from cover to cover. It has great writing prompts and ideas that really get your mind going. Halfway through the book, I found myself putting it down often to grab a pen and write down ideas. I ended up with a plot for a novel, a first chapter, a few short story ideas, and more. It's a miracle ...more
Alexandra Rolo
Ok isto tem umas dicas giras mas porra que é chato. Prova do quão chato é? Comecei a ler isto em 2011... Os primeiros capítulos ainda são divertidos mas quando mais se avança nas páginas mais bocejos esta coisa provoca e atenção: eu passo a vida a ler livros chatos para a faculdade e esses conseguem ser mais interessantes que isto.
Para quem é um completo nabo isto é quase um "escrever para totós". Aprendi umas quantas coisas mas a maior parte já eu tinha apanhado por ler tanta coisa (leio pouco
Catherine Grant
Nov 30, 2008 Catherine Grant rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
I admittedly have not finished all the essays in this book, but I don't feel I have to in order to rate this collection of essays. I love this book, and in fact will be buying a copy for my aspiring writer brother for Christmas. Each essay opened my eyes to ways I could make my writing better, brighter, crisper, more elegant, etc. Many of them are written by well-established authors who have learned the ropes and want to share some of their most hard-gained information. This book is a gem, a pre ...more
Hands down one of the best books on novel writing that I have read to date! The book is divided into six parts:
1. The Craft
2. The Art
3. The Process
4. The Genres
5. The Marketplace
6. The Interviews

Each part has short topics written by a variety of authors providing their tips. Excellent ideas about fleshing out characters, conflict, creating and building tension, using the senses, point of view, how to find an agent, what to beware of when looking for an agent, and so much more.

Five stars and ma
Sean Silva
A personal favorite of mine, and a real eye opener for anyone looking to understand the craft of writing. I usually have a very tough time reading non-fiction how-to books, but what I loved about this one is that each section is written by a different author, which gave each chapter a nice breath of fresh air and made the entire book feel more like a discussion than a lecture. And most of the material can easily be applied to short story writing. Highly recommended.
Sean Jacobs
After writing five local history books under a different pen name, I have ventured to write in a new genre, creative historical nonfiction. My first three novels required a different narrative style of writing and this book answers all the questions to be successful in this genre. Great book Meg and Jack!
J. Andersen
Dec 31, 2008 J. Andersen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers who want to publish
This is an amazing book so far. Whatever area of your writing you'd like to improve, there is a chapter on it in this book. There is also advice on how to get published. It has been very helpful in my own attempts at writing a novel. I've gained new perspective on my characters, setting, etc. I highly recommend this for anyone who is looking to write for publication
A collection of short articles/essays/advice from top writers on the elements of writing novels. Most are the usual "do this, don't do that, here's some examples" that I generally don't find that inspiring. I look for motivation and inspiration to keep going in a book like this more than instructions on how to write, and generally I'd say it's 50% in delivering that for me.
Was given to this for my birthday last year. Very invaluable advice from the likes of Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut, Sue Grafton and many more established writers.

Am writing my own story at the moment but when it comes to writing the second draft of it, this book is going to be glued to my side!

Would really recommend it for all writers starting out.
There are authors I found exceedingly helpful and others where I couldn't understand at all why they had been included as they seemed to do nothing other than state how wonderful they have been.

I hope that with time I will decide that the worthwhile bits outweigh the rest and the book was worth carrying with me half way around the world.
Already helpful, and I'm only on p. 3. Discovered a new subplot for the story I'm working on, and all it took was James N. Frey (author of the first chapter, "The Philosophy of Plot") pointing out that all characters, both heroes and villains, need a mission to accomplish, a believable motive, and clever ways to carry out their mission.
Abby Farr
This was such a great resource. It is well written and the chapters are easily digestible. Although the section about getting your book published kind of got me down, the rest really inspired me to crank out a novel for July Camp NaNoWriMo. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in writing a novel or writing at all.
this is a great book. It is like 55 mini short seminar courses given by notable authors all condensed into one book . Every author gives unique and valued pointers on the art of novel writing. It is a must have for writers and for those who just love to read and learn more about what makes a great story.
I have mixed feelings about this book. There are many, many different short articles by professionals, so you can pick up a lot of useful hints and tools. However, there's a lot to go through, so I'd use it as more of a desk manual than something you sit down and read through in several sittings.
I always have a hard time sitting down and reading this book cover-to-cover, but I enjoy picking it up and thumbing through it when I get stuck on a particular aspect of my own writing. It's a valuable resource with a lot of different opinions and methods, and I'm glad to have it in my collection.
Writing tips on a variety of topics from a variety of authors. I thought the one from Richard Russo was great as well as the article on point of view. Just like any other writing book, take the tips that work for you and throw the others out. But this one had lots to choose from.
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