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Spider, Spin Me A Web: A Handbook for Fiction Writers
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Spider, Spin Me A Web: A Handbook for Fiction Writers

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The craft of writing is a lot like spinning a web: You take threads and weave them skillfully together, and only you know where this intricate network of twists and turns begin and how it will end. Now, with Lawrence Block's expert advice, you can learn this art of entrapping your reader in a maze of facinating fiction.

Spider, Spin Me a Web is the perfect companion volume
Paperback, 264 pages
Published July 17th 1996 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1988)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  166 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Feb 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Spider, Spin Me A Web is a collection of Lawrence Block's column about writing in Writer's Digest.

First off, I enjoyed Block's first volume about writing, Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, immensely and got a lot of useful tips from reading it. I was not as enamored with Spider, Spin Me a Web. Spider, Spin Me a Web feels like a mixture of stuff that wasn't good enough to make it into Telling Lies, with a healthy dose of rehashing.

It's not a bad book about writing. Block still makes it an engaging
Stephen Simpson
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Books on writing books are always tough to evaluate because what works for one writer, won't work for another. Not to mention, take any topic/question and you can probably find at least two "how to write" books that take completely opposing viewpoints.

I think what helps this book is that it talks more about the philosophy and mentality of writing more than ultra-specific how-to's. While there are certainly how-to pointers here, they're fairly broad (although not necessarily obvious) and can be
Cyndi Stuart
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books I've had on my bookshelf for years, always telling myself I'll get back to it. I would start it and then life would get in the way, or else self-doubt would creep in and tell me what a horrible writer I was, so what was the point. This summer I decided to really dig in and start writing my first mystery novel. About two weeks in I dusted this book off to read as I wrote. It is a great reference. He says, first and foremost, write what you want not what you think will g ...more
David Leemon
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of interesting insights in this book.
Bill Phelps
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book on the craft of creative writing. The book is a collection of essays that come from his column in Writer's Digest. I particularly enjoyed the style of this work, because it had an air of a story to it. I think this lends a great deal more credibility to what he has to say. Through this book and his columns, he is able to weave a narrative tale that instructs the reader on the craft of writing. In no small way, the book is an illustration of exactly the writer does, so it ...more
Craig Childs
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lawrence Block wrote a monthly column for Writer's Digest magazine for 14 years in the 1970's and 80's. They have all been collected now into 4 books:

1. Telling Lies for Fun and Profit
2. Spider, Spin Me a Web
3. The Liar's Bible
4. The Liar's Companion

No subject is off limits for Block. From lofty questions (how do writers get their ideas?) to the mundane (how many pages should you write every day?) to the personal (how often should writers exercise? how should writers budget their money?), the ad
Elizabeth Allen
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-indulgent
While I acknowledge that Mr. Block is a very talented and prolific writer, this hardly qualifies as a "handbook", or at least, my definition of something aspiring fiction writers would find useful. "Spider" is essentially the life journey, experiences and observations of this man's path as a writer. That's terrific for him, but who's to say my path as a novelist (yes, I am one) will be anything like his? So far, except for living in NYC ( which he insists any would-be writer MUST do at some poin ...more
Vanessa Grant
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers
A great book for writers and anyone thinking about being a writer! This book continues the collection of gems from Lawrence Block's 10 years as a columnist for Writer's Digest.

Block's style is friendly and casual, often irreverent - and filled with gems for the creator. Definitely a keeper for the writer's bookshelf, and a great read for anyone who is curious about writers and how they do (or don't do) it. I read this book years ago, and ofter return to it.
Elaine Cramer
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: writers
Recommended to Elaine by: Ron Miranda
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
A product of it's times, still a good resource.

A fair portion of the book is about getting published, and I'm not certain how much of that applies, since I have never been published by a major house, but it seems as though the game has changed drastically since the '80s.

Still, it was painless to read and there were some good sentiments throughout. I'm glad I read it, and it will probably stay on my shelf at home.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This followup to Lawrence Block's Telling Lies for Fun and Profit is every bit as engaging and accessible as its predecessor. His advice about creativity is valuable, but what most tyro writers need most is guidance on professionalism, and that is where Block consistently knocks it out of the ballpark.
G.C. Neff
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very inspiring book. This was the second time I've read it (my copy was published in 1988), the first being over 20 years ago. While some information is dated, it still offers a lot of insight on the process of creating with words. A valuable tool, one that will be on my bookshelf to be reread again when my brain needs a boost.
Adam Ross
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-writing
A great, wide-ranging collection of columns Block wrote fir Writer's Digest in the 1980s. Amusingly dated in places (using typewriters) that must be translated into the present climate, which has changed dramatically. Some of the advice no longer applies. Still, broadly helpful from a lifelong career writer.
Tom V
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LB is just so damn accessible! His group of columns on writing have all the right/write stuff...advice, critique, pump-you-up affirmation; and all in a not too PollyAnna-ish prose.

Just the thing if you're looking for a view from the writer's side.

What's that Arnold? Oh, really?

Arnold says to tell you he's hooked on LB's take on the writer's craft
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing_books
This follow-up to TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT is more of the same and well worth it. Something for everyone. Block said that his greatest education as a writer was reading amateur manuscripts when he worked at Writer's Digest. A lot of that wisdom is in this book and its predecessor.
I like this one better than From Plot to Print. It is made up of columns he wrote for Writer's Digest, so it hits writing from multiple angles and it doesn't give you a whole picture for writing your novel, but that's okay
Richard Givan
Dec 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is more helpful than most when it comes to crafting fiction.
Kyle Young
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting read. Definitely some wisdom to be found.
Ray Charbonneau
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to
A how-to for writers, but one that concentrates more on philosophy than technique. And since it's written by Block, it's fun to read.
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
One of the best books on how to write out there.
Kirt Boyd
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Julie England
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May 28, 2011
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May 11, 2017
Andrew Shaffer
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Dec 29, 2017
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Jun 25, 2008
rated it it was ok
Jan 07, 2013
Armand Samec
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Nov 18, 2013
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Lawrence Block has been writing crime, mystery, and suspense fiction for more than half a century. He has published in excess (oh, wretched excess!) of 100 books, and no end of short stories.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., LB attended Antioch College, but left before completing his studies; school authorities advised him that they felt he’d be happier elsewhere, and he thought this was remarkably perceptiv
“Faith and fear, they tell me, can't coexist. I try to practice by doing what I'm afraid to do, and I manage (now and then, anyway) by means of faith. Faith that I will do myself more good than harm by the risks I am willing to take as a writer. And faith, finally, that the best service I can do myself is to do the best and most honest work of which I am capable.” 1 likes
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