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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know to Create & Sell Your Work

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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  824 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Get advice from the best in the business on every stage of the novel-writing and publishing process!

In The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition, you'll learn from established writers about how to make your novel a reality. Discover techniques and strategies for generating ideas, connecting with readers emotionally, and finding inspiration you need to finish you
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Paperback, 3rd edition, 518 pages
Published January 13th 2017 by Writer's Digest Books (first published March 1992)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  824 ratings  ·  99 reviews


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Nelou Keramati
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was an absolute god-send!
After sending yet another revised version of my first novel out to friends/family/colleagues, I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. No matter how much work I put into the book, my readers would continue to complain of the same recurring issues.

As a first-time novelist with no professional training in writing, I was in desperate need of a guide that could clearly articulate:

a. What I'm doing wrong, &
b. How to fix it.

Let me tell you, it is the BEST $20 I've ev
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Julie Christine
Terrific collection of essays from a variety of writers and industry wonks on every aspect of writing and publishing a novel. I'll be dipping into this for inspiration for my own writing workshops and coaching.
Lexy
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was informational
Sarah Hannah
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
D. L.
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Deborah
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
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.
Sable
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent writing guide, suited for writers of all levels.

I think this collection of essays and articles will have the most utility to the beginning writer. There's everything a writer who has decided to be serious about it will need. How to get started. How to find time for writing. Pacing. Character. Plot. Theme. Genre. It's all there.

It will be almost as good for the intermediate writer. Agents. Publishing. Whether to go indie or traditional.

Even the active, professional publishing writer
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Gina
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-writing
This books is great for anyone who is either a)already an author, or b)starting to write. Great tips!
Jason Armstrong
Feb 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Writing good fiction and getting published is hard. Giving crappy advice on how to write is apparently the easiest thing in the world.
Lara Lee
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of articles by various well-selling authors on numerous subjects about writing. Some of the pieces were alright, but some were fantastic. My favorite part of the book were the interviews with various authors such as Margret Atwood and Stephen King. It was really neat to compare the writing styles of these successful people. Some use outlines, some didn't. Some worked a rigid schedule, other worked when they could. I came away with great advice, but also a sense that whatever works ...more
Ashley
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realize this going in, but this is basically a collected edition of many Writer's Digest articles over the years. I found the advice interesting and varied, if sometimes contradictory (I think the different writers tackling the same points was intended as a counterpoint to each other). The advice on plotting and putting the words to the page was the most invaluable, and some of the essays induced eye-rolling. I skipped many of the interviews in the last chapter, but it was fun learning ...more
Aurora Dimitre
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
|4.5 Stars|

You know? I really liked this. I really did. I think one way that it really managed to be better than a lot of other books I've read about writing was due to the fact that it wasn't just one writer telling you what to do. It collected essays from a bunch of different authors, and it worked really well. I thought it was an insightful book and a good one, and I'm glad I read it.
Barbara
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aubrey
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, own, inspiration
A good collection of essays about various aspects of novel writing from start to publication. I found a couple particularly helpful for where I'm at right now, and I know that as I write I'll find others helpful too. Lawrence Block's essay was particularly funny.
Tracy
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, writing, 2010
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.
Lily
Aug 24, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I found this book the bookshelf, (my real one at home)and it looked interesting, plus I've always wanted to be a writer.
Mark Lewis
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent collection of essays on novel writing.
Rachel B
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
There was some good information in here, particularly for beginning writers. Each chapter is an excerpt from a different book or a previously published piece, so there are some contradictory statements made by the various writers (about the "best" way to write), but I liked seeing the variety in approaches. Some of the information is the same, however, and therefore repetitive. This was a little annoying.

I especially liked reading about various authors' backgrounds and how they first got into th
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Halordain
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive, thoughtful, varied, enlightening, motivating. Some of the individual contributors, like Jane Friedman or Mary Kole, are too strong-armed or hard-headed about writing or habits, but over the course of the entire book, the wealth and diversity of the voices mostly drowns out the unhelpfulness of one or two of the articles. The short anecdotes and interviews with authors in the latter part of the book proved most valuable to me; they provided validation into processes and encouraged ...more
JoAnna
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three-line review: The longer I write and the more advice I read about writing, the more I'm convinced there's no "right" way to do it. There's some good, practical advice packed into the essays that make up this book, but it's important to realize that even a "complete handbook" doesn't contain a magic solution for creating the next best seller. My favorite essays were the interviews with successful novelists; I enjoy reading about other people's processes and inspiration.
J.L. Murray
I'm giving this two stars because I really liked the interviews at the end (Dennis Lehane, amirite?). Otherwise it would be a one star read. Just a lot of regurgitated drivel, junk writing that might impress a very young writer, but not anyone who's had any experience at at all. Not sure what I was expecting from Writer's Digest, but I'm going to read Zen In the Art of Writing to get the bad taste out of my mouth.
Joan
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I use this book as reference for specific aspects of writing. It has many valuable pieces of advise and great examples. However, because it is a collection of essays written by numerous, I did not like some of the authors' writing styles and/or did not find that their essay added anything new to the topic.
Madison Ruth
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hope that this is able to distinguish the fact that I've read two different editions. I read this one many years ago, and I didn't realize when I bought the new one the other day that it was the third edition of this book.
Anita
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book because many authors lent their advice on a wide range of topics about writing. Any writer should have this on their reference bookshelf.
Susanne
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-the-book
This book is an 1992 edition of best articles of Writers Digest Magazine on novel writing. Very much in the beginning, on page 6 in fact, W.C.Stroby says
"The talent comes in while conceptualizing a story; the craft is what lets you to put it on paper in a coherent form. You've got to have the tools. If you don't have the necessary skills, you can have some great ideas for stories, but it's going to be awfully hard to tell them."
Eureka, I thought. I have a great story - I only need the skill. Th
...more
Kassie
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my Creative Writing textbook. It's a great guide that answers a lot of great questions. I'm keeping it around!
Terri Wilson
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lot of great information. Worth having and reading a little at a time.
Buchbummelant
I love this book. It has everything, best book about writing I read, really adding depth to my understanding of books and my own writing.
Stephanie
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
(Review taken from blog at misprintedpages.wordpress.com)

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
...more
Denyse Loeb
With articles from the likes of Orson Scott Card, Mary Kittredge, and Dean Koontz, this book covers everything from planning and plotting to marketing. Most of the various topics only have one chapter, therefore only one viewpoint, but the chapters are arranged in a working order - that is, they are arranged in an order that is similar to a writer's work on the novels.


Impressions: Though there is some very good information presented, I actually found this to be a somewhat mediocre book. For one,
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