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Writing Fiction for Dummies

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,454 ratings  ·  144 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, 362 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Wiley Publishing, Inc. (first published October 27th 2009)
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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)

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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
Morgan Ives
Jun 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Remember all those articles you've read on writing? Some were useful, some were not. If you're like me, you've collected those useful articles for years. Yet I always wished they could be collected in a single place.

"Writing Fiction for Dummies" does that! It is by far the best, most comprehensive book I've read on the subject of writing fiction (and I've read dozens). Highlights that I found especially useful:

- How to create (or fix) characters so they resonate with readers.
- How to balance the
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
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
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
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.).
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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: standalones, owned, 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
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
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.
Mary Pat
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: aspiring fiction writers
Recommended to Mary Pat by: Thomas Umstaad, Jr.
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.
Eileen Copeland
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy make a great team.

This is an excellent book for aspiring writers of any age. I loved the examples they gave to illustrate their points as well as the touches of humor. One flaw that kept coming up was the repetition of points. But overall, well worthwhile.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
For beginners this would be an awesome book: plenty of info on a broad range of subject and able to walk you from woe to go. Sadly for me there was very little new info, just occasionally different terms. Probably why it took me so long to read ;p I read it as required reading for a course I'm doing.
Worth it if you're new or reasonably new.
Thibaldo Manrique
Excellent entertaining and informative

As a novice writer I got this book to help me develop my craft. I was actually writing a novel at the time and took a break to finish this book first. Truly invaluable advice and information. Technical help as well as business guidelines. A must have for fiction writers.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
“How to Structure a Novel for Beginners”

Really a nuts and bolts how-to manual on the mechanics of writing a novel. Lots of good advice on structuring a plot, developing characters, building scenes, dealing with editors and such. Most of all, good advice on understanding the business of writing. Recommended.
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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

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