To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling Hardcover – December 15, 1987
|New from||Used from|
2016 Book Awards
Browse award-winning titles. See all 2016 winners
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“At last. A damn good how-to book about writing a novel. Practical, down to earth, easily assimilated advice, presented with humor and authority.” ―Irma Ruth Walker, author of Air Force Wives
“Frey has the genius of a true teacher: a thorough knowledge of his subject, combined with the ability to entertain while communicating that knowledge. This book has practical adviuce for serious writers.” ―Donna Levin, author of Extraordinary Means
“Superb. The kind of book that should be kept by every author next to the typewriter. Frey not only includes the basics of good writing, but the invaluable hints of how to add depth and texture to a novel. Inspiring and clear, the book gives detailed examples of common pitfalls and how to correct them . . . Not only instructive but pleasurable.” ―Alla Crone, author of Winds Over Manchuria and East Lies the Sun
From the Back Cover
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
In the two months since I've read this book, I've written over 50,000 words. Granted, much of that is background material and draft, but frankly, this book moved me. It gave me direction, inspiration, and a healthy dose of reality.
Now, don't be mistaken, Frey is not going to teach you all the grammatical rules you're going to need to know. He's not going to go into great detail about characteriztion, voice, plot etc. However, he will cover all of these, and organize them to a conceivable whole. He offers realism in what to expect out of writing.
His tone is light, engaging, and very easy to read. I've already read the book twice, and referred to it, when reading other people's writing.
Simply put, if you ever plan on writing a novel, READ THIS BOOK.
If you want to write fiction that sells to the masses, at the same time use all the necessary literary conventions used by even the most Pulitzer-winner writers, this book is for you. Frey cannot in the thin volume of this book make you into a writer. What he does is give you a fast, concise rundown on the main techniques that are critical to the story, as well as ways to avoid pitfalls. Every good novel from my experience, whether it be a critically-acclaimed "literary" piece or a commercial bestseller, contains the elements discussed in the book.
If you're in to pretentious books on writing, books that are geared toward English Literature majors, this book is not for you. If you want hard, practical easy reading manual on that silly enjoyable thing you love doing (writing fiction), this book is must for you.
One thing I've noticed is that advice can be at polar ends and yet still sound like it is good genuine advice.
Frey recommends using a very structured route to completing a novel. You must have a premise. Write character bios. Complete a step sheet. Know where you are going. The key to writing a salable novel is too write a certain amount every day following the guide lines and rules. Follow them and you will succeed. For a writer that is going to follow this route I'd also recommend the book "Writing the Blockbuster Novel" as it gives some great examples of structuring a big novel. It also gives examples of an actual outline used in a Follet novel, which I thought was very informative. I recommend both of these books.
Stephen King's "On Writing" tells some of his life story and also tells how he writes his books. He describes writing a fictional novel as being like a palentologist digging up bones; the story is already there, it exists in total and the writers job is to dig it up without destroying all the fragile and delicate pieces. King doesn't mention in his book on writing anything about a premise, a step sheet, writing character bios or even knowing the outcome of the story. He mentions that in the writing of "The Green Mile" he didn't even know if the central character John Coffey was going to live or die.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has some good advice. But it is dated and boring. The author writes the standard way to print and mail a manuscript, but manuscripts today are emailed, not slow mailed. Read morePublished 16 days ago by M.A. De Neve
This is a book on a list of books I had to read but it was full of great information, especially if you are writing a novel. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Carolyn N. Robinson
I have a lot of writing books, and over the years I have kept those I felt had timeless advice. This is one of those. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C.A.Lutes
Standard advice. Go get the next book in this series it is much better, the result of much more thinking.Published 5 months ago by John Cleary III
Depends on what you think a damn good novel is. Frey prefers the gung-ho drama of commercial fiction I think, even though he leans on (only a few) classics to make his case. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mark Unger
Good writer, despite any previous controversy. The material is clear and concise, as well as invaluable for serious writers of fiction or nonfiction, or any combination, thereof.Published 5 months ago by F. Mileti