Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Writing Fiction for Dummies” as Want to Read:
Writing Fiction for Dummies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Writing Fiction for Dummies

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,554 ratings  ·  155 reviews
A complete guide to writing and selling your novel.

So you want to write a novel? Great! That's a worthy goal, no matter what your reason. But don't settle for just writing a novel. Aim high. Write a novel that you intend to sell to a publisher.

Writing Fiction for Dummies is a complete guide designed to coach you every step along the path from beginning writer to royalty-
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Wiley Publishing, Inc. (first published October 27th 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Writing Fiction for Dummies, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
DVS List I was pleasantly surprised. It was a good compilation of insight for the novice, intermediate, and advanced creative writer. You see the title "Writin…moreI was pleasantly surprised. It was a good compilation of insight for the novice, intermediate, and advanced creative writer. You see the title "Writing Fiction for Dummies" and assume it's only fundamental stuff, but there's more to it than that.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,554 ratings  ·  155 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Writing Fiction for Dummies
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Let me begin this review by saying that I'm usually *not* a fan of the Dummies series. I hate the fonts and layout, they're odd-sized and ugly, and the information harbored within is almost always sub-par. Let me also point out that I am *not* a Dummy or a beginner, but an experienced writer who has read upwards of 20 books about the craft of writing.

So I was surprised that I really, really liked this book.

If you're looking for advice about craft, the finer points of good prose, or syntax, look
Wes Harris
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. I don't always read Dummies books cover to cover because they are how-to guides but this one was great. I've recently read several writing books and I regularly listen to a writing podcast. This book explained many of the key concepts that I have run into in other books in a clear and concise manner and added some additional tools/approaches. They didn't settle for hand-waving they got down into the nitty gritty and really helped me understand how-to-write in a way that I hadn't ...more
Writing Fiction for Dummies offered me some great, essential advice towards putting my ideas on paper. After a few false starts, I realized how little about writing, I know. Like most readers, I have a general sense of how a book flows, but the technical process was lacking.

Randy guides us through the entire book writing process at a high level, explaining the technical components of writing with plenty of examples. The layout is straightforward and it works equally well reading it cover-to-cov
Robert Bidinotto
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I downloaded Writing Fiction for Dummies with some trepidation, figuring that any book with a title like that had to be hack-work. And that it also had to contain tips and advice redundant with every one of the dozens of other books I've read on fiction-writing. I thought that, by now, I'd read about everything to be said on the topic.

Boy, was I wrong.

This is THE best book on fiction-writing. Bar none. Period. End of story. It is THE most systematic, comprehensive, creatively fertile, and techni
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, but I didn't. It is highly-rated both here and on Amazon, and I am familiar with Ingermanson's website "Advanced Fiction Writing." I figured I would give it a shot.

I think part of the problem is that this book sticks to the Dummies format of step-by-step instructions, helpful hints, and a beginning-to-end process. The problem is that there isn't a strict process in writing, which to be fair to Ingermanson, he does point out (before giving a step-by-step process). What
Writing Fiction for Dummies essentially goes out to complete what the title implies - teach dumbos like myself how to begin writing fiction. It is a beginning analysis, with no bias included in all aspects of creating and method. The writers are open to all kinds of fiction, and unlike teachers at school, do not hype up classics and literature and make fun of books like Harry Potter. The language is very easy to approach and understand, with concise headers throughout the book. Examples are also ...more
Heather Mims
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Books about writing are an addiction of mine, though I never bothered to read this one until it was offered on Kindle Unlimited. I assumed it would be overly simplistic, dumbed down to the point that only writing novices would gain any insight from its contents. Happy to say I was wrong about that! This book offers unique perspectives on everything from writing summaries to plot structure and character development, including quite a few suggestions that i've never found anywhere else. Though the ...more
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wish I would've had Writing Fiction for Dummies when I wrote my first novel several years ago. Such a wealth of information! I appreciate the authors taking a multi-faceted approach, giving room for different types of plotters. I also applaud the attention to scene structure and self editing. If you're starting this journey, or you're partway through and you don't quite know how to continue, or you're farther along but want some excellent tips, this is an informational and inspirational read. ...more
C.M. Skiera
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing-guides
This book has a lot of good information and is a very helpful writing guide. The main reason I only gave it three stars is because it suffers from the same type of bloat I see in a lot of writing guides. Too much repeating the same information and too much cross-referencing (i.e., "we discuss this topic more in Chapter Two...etc., etc.). ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Needs to be updated.

The book is kinda old. It may not seem so since the copyright is only 2010, but a lot has happened in the publishing industry since then. The book doesn’t even mention self-publishing once.

Also I think I was a little too advanced for it, I mean sure it’s a “for dummies” book but I was required to read it for a course I was taking and I realized as I was reading through it that I was learning nothing. There’s nothing in this book I couldn’t have found with a quick google sear
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
I am generally a fan of dummies books (while not the best style, they are consistent and only presents information that is well-accepted by professionals in the industry). While I have studied writing at the post-secondary level, a traumatic event became associated with writing for me and I hadn’t written a word for well over a decade. Spontaneously, I began writing again, but I could tell immediately that I am not at my former level.

While this book did not help remind me of everything I once kn
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to finish this book because it was mainly about technique. Halfway through, I realized that most of what Randy Ingermanson was describing seemed obvious to me, instinctual. Technique isn’t my problem (yet), my roadblock seems to be a paralyzing fear that what I have to say won’t be interesting or important. So for me, this book became a tool of avoidance to keep me from actually writing, because I could say “I’m doing research on writing” instead. That said, this is a reference ...more
Arichard Emriderman
May 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A wholesome, thorough guide to steps of writing fiction. A lot of rules discussed in the final chapters of the book might vary based on location.
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great for the birds eye overview and includes excellent resources on what to read next
Jill Williamson
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-helps
Review by Jill Williamson

Randy Ingermanson is my hero. I have been learning from him since I discovered his website in 2005. The man is not only a wealth of information, he teaches in such a fun and friendly way, you can’t fail to learn. And now, everything Randy teaches is here in one convenient package. Man, how I wish he had written this a few years ago! It would have saved me a lot of trouble.

I highly recommend this book to any writer, but especially to beginners who want to write a novel.
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've not read the whole book cover to cover. I actually skipped the parts I already know. It is a good reference for starters. It certainly gives you some useful insights about developing characters, scenes...etc. I'm going to keep it as a reference and refer to it whenever needed. While it mostly concentrates on novel writing, it is definitely recommended for any one interested in fiction writing. ...more
Margaret Metz
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Fun to read with lots of helpful insights. I liked the way they used known books as examples. They did a very good job of using examples all the way through. Some writing books just tell and don't show. ;o) This is one I can see myself referring to again in the future. ...more
Corrie Eavenson
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for my creative writing class and found it pretty helpful. It's an easy read and full of relevant advice for aspiring writers. I'll probably hold onto it for future reference when I need to troubleshoot specific issues. ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
ithink it was a really good books because now i know what fiction is
Jodie Renner
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An excellent resource for anyone who's getting started writing fiction! ...more
Tiana Dalichov
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Full of amazing advice. I highly recommend this to all authors!
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I definitely learned a lot from this book.
Michael Rhames
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, standalones, pdf, epub, azw3, mobi
Overall: 4.1/5
This is a powerful tool for aspiring fiction writers with some to no knowledge about the craft or the publishing industry. It guides them through the whole process, from writing a novel to selling it, in layman's terms. It's definitely helped bring focus to my work.

Cover: 5/5
Well, it's a Dummy series installment, so not much else to be expected here.

Writing/Delivery: 10/10
It's my first time reading this book to which I'll be coming back for sure. While the guidance us step-by-step,
Carrie Daws
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
An excellent resource for all types of writers. The authors touch on topics broad enough to be helpful to pantsers, planners, and everyone in between, but they also get specific enough to teach new writers and more experienced authors do better. For example, they encourage writers to think about their settings--what naturally exists as well as how the culture influences it, what the political and spiritual backdrop affects the environment, and how all of that sets the emotion and changes the con ...more
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had taken a break in reading this book. I decided to plow through this weekend. Perhaps my sole complaint is that it’s a bit prescriptive and inclines a bit to set climaxes and acts you have to hit in your story, which is super helpful but may take a bit of the artistry out of it. But then again, as I said, even that is super helpful, and they cushion that with multiple mentions of doing what works for you and that there is no definite method.

That was literally my only negative.

If you are sli
Aug 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! It describes the process of writing a novel in steps that make it much more manageable so you don't get lost while writing your story. As a novice novelist, I've gotten only so far into a story, and then I've gotten lost in the details and the research, etc. The top-down process the authors describe is a perfect solution for me, a detail-oriented, planning kinda person whose day job is as a Senior Data Scientist. It breaks up the heterogeneous monster of writing a great story i ...more
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
Writing Fiction For Dummies is popular because it covers writing fiction all the way from starting your stories, to what will keep buyers reading past bedtime, to editing, and submitting to publishers. So much information, I'm not sure I would ever be able to get a novel published.
Somehow with all the details and tips they still found room for much repetition, and referencing chapters read or coming later in the book. I suspect this would not be a problem if the reader is determined to work thr
Peter Dennett
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Budding writers should read this.

This book is absolutely perfect reading for a student of writing. If you plan to write stories, particularly, or even how-to books, this book will show you how to create believable characters and situations. It will teach you the don'ts too. If you plan on writing then buy this book. If you want to know the do's and don'ts then buy this book. If you think that writing is the purvue of only those people talented enough, read this book. You be surprised!
MaryAnn Diorio
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Although I am not generally a fan of the "Dummies" books, I found this one to be exceptional. If followed carefully, the authors' suggestions for writing a novel will result in a finished manuscript. As one who has written four novels and is working on my fifth, I found this book very helpful in returning to the basics and firming up my foundation. I would definitely recommend this book both for beginning novelists and for those who have already published a novel. ...more
Mary Pat Johns
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It took me a while to get through this one the first time, but it's a great tool for writer's craft. While crafting blurbs, the 3 act structure, and even a refresher on the snowflake method, this reference work is easy to use. I highly recommend it for aspiring fiction writers. The breakdown is user-friendly and a pleasure to refer back to. I'll use it again and again because the basics are presented so well. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days
  • Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors
  • Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
  • The Elements of Style
  • Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
  • Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development
  • The Wishing Season (Chapel Springs, #3)
  • Writing Worship: How to Craft Heartfelt Songs for the Church
  • Floating in the Deep End: How Caregivers Can See Beyond Alzheimer's
  • Novelist's Essential Guide to Creating Plot
  • Writing Fiction, Tenth Edition: A Guide to Narrative Craft
  • Talking to Alzheimer's: Simple Ways to Connect When You Visit with a Family Member or Friend
  • The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan: Discover the Joy of Spending Less, Sharing More, and Living Generously
  • Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself
  • How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet
  • Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer: The Artistry, Joy, and Career of Storytelling
  • The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
See similar books…
See top shelves…
I'm a novelist, physicist, and fiction teacher. People around the world call me "the Snowflake Guy" because of my wildly popular "Snowflake method" for writing a novel.

I've published 6 novels and won about a dozen awards for my writing. I'm a theoretical physicist with a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. I publish the world's largest electronic newsletter on how to write fiction. I run the software divisio

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
14 likes · 1 comments
“Readers don't want to read about somebody else having powerful emotions. . . . Readers want to become somebody else for a few hours, to live an exciting life, to find true love, to face down unimaginable terrors, to solve impossible puzzles, to feel a lightning jolt of adrenaline.” 5 likes
“You need three major resources to have a successful writing career: time, writing space, and money.” 1 likes
More quotes…