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The Successful Novelist: A Lifetime of Lessons about Writing and Publishing Paperback – January 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks; 1 edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402210558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402210556
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Morrell is the bestselling author of First Blood, The Brotherhood of the Rose and The Fifth Profession. He holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from the Pennsylvania State University and was a professor of English at the University of Iowa. He is now a full-time writer living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
This is simply one of the best books for a new writer to read.
Kelly T. Rhoads
David Morrell is a writer's writer - a master of fiction who is avidly read and admired by fellow bestselling authors such as Dean Koontz and Stephen King.
Kelvin MacGregor
I take my copy out from time to time and read paragraphs at random just to stay in touch with the author's wisdom and experience.
John

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Stephen J. Prosapio on March 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great book on the craft of writing. I believe it is, however, a previously published book under the title "Lessons of a Lifetime of Writing" by David Morrell. For those who have read that book, this is a duplication.

For those who have not already read this book, do yourself a favor and buy it. The reviews under the previous title are excellent and informative.

http://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Lifetime-Writing-Novelist-Looks/dp/1582971439/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204579021&sr=1-1

David is a unique person to share his experience. A former college professor, he knows how to teach. As a brilliant novelist, he knows how to tell stories that entertain. This book accomplishes both of those goals.

I've read many books on writing and, in my opinion, this one ranks up there with Stephen King's "On Writing and the books by Noah Lukeman. This book will certainly compliment any writer's collection of informative books. More than that, the stories that David shares are extremely interesting and entertaining. As I read them, I could vividly imagine myself going through them with my works and one day, aided by David's sage advice, I'm sure I shall.

If you've not already purchased this book under the previous title. Buy it now!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Eric Morlet on September 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I purchased the "Successful Novelist". In short: a great book. I also purchased another book from the same author David Morrell. This book is "Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing" and guess what: it is exactly the same book as "Successful Novelist", but for the title.
Amazon has decided to provide a full refund including the shipment costs. Thank you Amazon.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anastasia Beaverhausen VINE VOICE on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
An instructional writing book...by an actual successful novelist. While David Morrell may be best-known for writing "First Blood" and the subsequent Rambo novelizations, "The Successful Novelist" puts him on the map as a world-class professor of writing as he turns the edict "Those who can't do, teach" on its head. He used to teach in the University of Iowa English Department that was located below the Iowa Writer's Workshop offices. However, his instruction here is contrary to that of most college creative writing workshops, in that he adresses writers of all genres (not just "literary" writers). For that reason, this book will be of particular interest to thriller, science fiction, horror, and other genre writers looking for instruction outside of the university structure.

"The Successful Novelist" is an update edition of Morrell's first writing book, Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing: A Novelist Looks at His Craft with an added chapter on marketing. If you enjoy "The Successful Novelist," you should also check out Stephen King's On Writing and Strunk and White's The Elements of Style to round out your writing "home study" course.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alan H. Jordan on February 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is proof that that the statement "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach," is a lie.

Morrell has written many successful books, and the insights that he shares in this book are well worth the time.

I highly recommend getting this book in the Kindle version where you can highlight and search the book for phrases because you're going to want to go back and read it several times, over a period of time. You may find yourself in a checkout counter at a supermarket, whipping out your phone and pulling up your Kindle app.

The book is written in a conversational tone, so it sounds like you're in the room with Morrell. Example: "Eventually, I connect the dots and discover that I have not only a plot but also characters whose issues are important to me; in other words, a theme."

There's a thorough discussion of plot, character experience and conflict. There a quotes from other authors who have written good books on writing. There are examples taken from his books, and there are tidbit tips like "When editing your fiction, be on the lookout for scenes interrupted by a sudden string of verbs including "had." Another example is "Pay attention to that flashback because often it is the opening scene that your story wants to have..."

The Kindle version of the book was $7.99 when I bought it. It was well worth the money.

I would have rated this book a five, but it is, unfortunately, filled with typos. They're the kind of typo that comes from a lat minute search and replace editing. Things like,"cars.That" (Page 187), "drivers.They" (Page 188) and "detectors.The" (Page 191).
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kirk Alex on December 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Beautifully written. Almost reads like one of Mr. Morrell's terrific action novels.
Read First Blood way back in l978 and couldn't put the damn book down--and I don't really care for most action novels, by that I mean James M. Cain's Double Indemnity and Postman... are masterpieces...but how many of those are there out there? Not many.

The only quibble I have is this: the advice to hit the reader hard from the get go. I don't need to be "bludgeoned" by the writer from the very beginning.
Interesting openings are just fine, so long as they are plausible, but when
there is something like a killing or knifing, you name it, some disaster, I get the feeling that the scribe is not only insecure, but a certified hack.

Westlake comes to mind, Steele comes to mind--and so many others.
To see what I'm talking about pick up a paperback next time you visit your supermarket, open it to the first page...the scene may be about someone trapped in a plane that's about to crash, or someone getting blasted, or someone in a car rolling down a mountain... This is the kind of idiocy that I do my best to avoid.

Great novels don't open with a tricked-up action sequence; they don't have to--and the great writers know this.
just take a look at the first page of A Confederacy of Dunces or Knut Hamsun's Hunger, Celine's Journey to the End of the Night, or even Bukowski's Ham On Rye. Better still, pick up Edward Bunker's No Beast So fierce, one of the great crime novels, and see how it begins. The guy is in his cell, about to be released, shining his shoes. Get it?
I hate fast openings. Always have.

Don't insult your reader's intelligence with a moronic action sequence.
Drama need not always have "action" in it.

Other than that, David Morrell's book on writing is truly one of the finest.
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More About the Author

David Morrell is the author of FIRST BLOOD, the award-winning novel in which Rambo was created. He holds a Ph. D. in American literature from Penn State and was a professor in the English department at the University of Iowa. His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic spy trilogy that begins with THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE, the basis for the only television mini-series to premier after a Super Bowl. The other books in the trilogy are THE FRATERNITY OF THE STONE and THE LEAGUE OF NIGHT AND FOG. An Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity nominee, Morrell is the recipient of three Bram Stoker awards and the prestigious Thriller Master award from the International Thriller Writers organization. His writing book, THE SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST, discusses what he has learned in his four decades as an author. His latest novel is the highly praised Victorian mystery/thriller, MURDER AS A FINE ART.

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The Successful Novelist: A Lifetime of Lessons about Writing and Publishing
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