Jared Millet's Reviews > Writing Fiction for Dummies

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson
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Nov 04, 10

bookshelves: nonfiction, writing
Read in November, 2010

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 construction of the individual scenes that hold it together. Some of this material I'd seen before (such as Ingermanson's "Snowflake Method" of plot outlining) but a lot of it I hadn't. The parts I most enjoyed were those on how to design compelling characters - by analyzing a character's personal values and then putting those values into conflict.

The only topic they don't go into a lot of detail about is style, but in that area no one's ever going to top Strunk & White.
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