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Guide to Fiction Writing

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  126 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
A guide to fiction writing.
Hardcover, 141 pages
Published October 1st 1988 by Watson-Guptill Publications (first published 1982)
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Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grew up with Phyllis Ayame Whitney, 104 year-old ‘Grand Mistress Of Fiction’. Ignore romance-looking covers and antiquated predicaments. We’re engaged by everyday feelings, in suspenseful paces. She was a professional plotter, in distinct settings that were meticulously-researched. There is a reason she published 100 mysteries for adults and children; beginning only at age 40. I wondered how this was possible, how she turned ideas into that staggering output. “Guide To Fiction Writing”, 1982, ...more
Kimberly Jackson
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very helpful book for writers regardless of their level. I took a lot of notes that I will apply in the future.
Susan Oleksiw
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Phyllis Whitney was a prolific writer of mysteries for adults and for young people. Her stories belong to an older style, more in the Agatha Christie vein than Stephen King. Nevertheless, they are clever, well written, and fun. She tells a good story. And this is the main point of her guide to writing--tell a good story.

The book is divided into two parts: Methods and Process, and Technique. In the first part she talks about opportunity and writing habits, the necessary preliminaries for writing
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
I have a couple of ideas for novels upstairs in my brain and jotted down in one of my notebooks, but at this time I'm working on short stories and poetry. Nevertheless Phyllis A. Whitney's book on writing fiction was an encouraging read and gave a lot of fertilizer for thought.

Now many of the techniques and suggestions she presents are not my style. She did loads of preliminary planning on paper before she began to pen a novel. But she says that her preparation style may not be everyone's cup o
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Definitely the most useful book on writing I've ever read.
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
Shelves: writing
First writing book that I really read. Still go back to it because I loved the way she set up everything, very organized.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it liked it
This was recommended to me as a good resource for would-be writers. It was a quick, easy, and (overall)a pleasant read. I agreed with many of Whitney's suggestions and thought her approach was practical and personable. Her suggestions on the method of writing (how to get organized, etc) were great! On the other hand, some of the suggestions were a little--how should I say--out dated, formulaic, for my taste.

I decided to read some of her fiction to see how she followed her own advice. I have rea
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've read covering all aspects of writing fiction. It particularly focuses on novels - the author was a published author of many novels, in several genres - but the sections of characterisation, plotting, emotion and so on are relevant to all fiction writers. Indeed. many non-fiction writers would probably benefit from reading this book.

Admittedly it's rather dated. It was published in 1982, so the author was still talking about using a typewriter. The short sectio
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
This is not a bad book on writing, however most of the information found here is so basic as to be almost intuitive. The things she spends a lot of time writing about are generally all things you would have guessed about writing already. Also, some of the advice is very dated in that it was given long before everybody had a computer and could do research on the net.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, writing
This is an easy, quick read for anyone interested in doing a little fiction writing. It is very much a basic introduction to writing fiction and can feel a bit patronizing at times. As for the actual content of the book, a good portion of it is common sense but I did find several concepts that struck me as intelligent and well thought out.
Sue Maxwell
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
She is obviously the best mystery writer in existence and her how to book is great; but if you want to have nightmares while reading her books give them a try. After four I couldn't read another one of them even though they were very well written masterpieces. Sue Maxwell
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have the original edition, but it's the same book. I finished the book and it has helped me with what I need to do to organize my thoughts for writing. I hope you enjoy it.
Oct 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic-writing
I thought this was really good. Very well written and a lot of food for thought.
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Concise and helpful
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is rather dated, but the material remains as relevant as ever. There were plenty of great tips on how to write fiction, from plot to setting, as well as characterization. A great help for my own writing.
Mimi Johnson
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an easy to follow, full of knowledge book. This is the book Id put into the hands of anyone who wants to become a better writer.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
Phyllis Ayame Whitney (September 9, 1903 – February 8, 2008) was an American mystery writer. Rare for her genre, she wrote mysteries for both the juvenile and the adult markets, many of which feature exotic locations. A review in The New York Times once dubbed her "The Queen of the American Gothics".

She was born in Japan to American parents and spent her ear
More about Phyllis A. Whitney
“A good book isn't written, it's rewritten.” 417 likes
“As good as' always spells mediocrity. But when a writer's work is in competition with all those thousands of other manuscripts that pour over an editor's desk, he cannot afford to be 'as good as'; he (or she) must be 'better than.” 6 likes
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