Best Books of the Month Shop Men's Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Videos Amazon Gift Card Offer jrscwrld jrscwrld jrscwrld  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Fall Arrivals in Amazon Outdoor Clothing Kids Halloween
Writing the Blockbuster Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Pages are free from writing, creases and tears. Binding is tight. Clean and crisp.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Writing the Blockbuster Novel Hardcover – February 1, 1994

59 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, February 1, 1994
$7.14 $0.01

Inside Out by Ann M. Martin
"Inside Out" by Ann M. Martin
Check out one of the featured titles this month in Teen & Young Adult, by Ann M. Martin. Learn more | See related books

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Zuckerman, a veteran literary agent representing such best-selling authors as Ken Follett and Eileen Goudge, here explains how authors can get their novels onto the best-sellers list. This book is not intended for beginning writers but will help those who have mastered the craft of novel writing and now wish to write a book with blockbuster potential. Of course, there are no guarantees here: the reading public is fickle, and, ultimately, readers are the ones who make best sellers. That said, Zuckerman knows what works most of the time. He spends the two largest sections of the book on outlining and revision. Authors need to know where they are going, and a detailed outline will help them map a plan to bring together all the characters and plot lines. Best-selling novels by Follett, Goudge, and others are used as examples. This will be useful in libraries that serve writers. Recommended.
- Lisa J. Co chenet, Plainfield P.L. Dist., Ill.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Even if a writer can write a good, readable novel, what makes it a blockbuster? Is it just the marketing hype and the fact that someone knew someone? Not according to Zuckerman, who explains piece by piece what makes a good novel hit the top. Having worked with Follett and others for the past 20 years as a literary agent, Zuckerman has seen his share of bad books, and even written a few. Here he takes a look at the characterizations, plot lines, points of view, and other essential features of five major novels, including The Godfather and Gone with the Wind. His approach is pragmatic and fun to read besides. Denise Perry Donavin

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Digest Books (February 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898795982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898795981
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you want to write "serious" literature, look elsewhere. But if you want to write a blockbuster novel, one that will top the bestseller charts and be read for decades to come, then you NEED this book! Not a course in literature or even in novel writing (Zuckerman presumes that you know the basics) this book is a guide to writing the "big book," the book all agents dream of finding, the book that will earn you the million dollar advance, be sold to the movies, etc. While it's not absolutely necessary to read the blockbuster novels Zuckerman cites in this work, it does help, and some familiarity with them is certainly necessary. Knowing example is the best teacher, Zuckerman takes us, step-by-step, through each of the requisite elements of a blockbuster novel--elements that each and every big book share. The book is not for everyone, though. If you aspire to short-story writing or the writing of small, quiet books that may be excellent but will never "take the world by storm" then you'll probably find Zuckerman "too commercial." But if it's commercial you're looking for, this book is truly worth its weight in gold. Thank you Mr. Zuckerman for writing it, and a special thanks to Ken Follett for sharing his early drafts with us. You both did far more than you'll ever know and we appreciate it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book should prove very helpful to writers of commercial fiction. It's not necessary to read the blockbusters (Man from St. Petersburg, GWTW, Godfather, Thorn Birds) to follow Zuckerman's arguments, though the novels will certainly help any writer learning the craft. The Follett outlines demonstrate how a serious (and ambitious) novelist crafts his work prior to writing. The outlines give a very detailed look at the novel in its various stages of development, and Zuckerman's analyses of them are dead-on. However, Zuckerman pays too little attention to the other novels: he's not nearly as detailed or insightful of their inner workings as he is with Follet's, which he edited. Moreover, the inclusion of "Garden of Lies," a novel written by his wife, seems to be a ploy to squeeze royalties out of an anachronistic book that few nowadays would consider a blockbuster. But Zuckerman is an agent, after all, so such tactics shouldn't scare die-hards off.
Zuckerman warns that the first-time novelist attempting a blockbuster might be biting more than he can chew, since he he isn't talking about any ordinary bestseller, but a "blockbuster." However, some of his advice (e.g., not to write a historical work) must be taken with a grain of salt because, even as he points out, most of the works he's dealing with are period pieces. In addition, anyone looking for a "how to write" book will not find much guidance here (Zuckerman assumes we know the basics of conflict, structure, character, etc.). Nor does he delve into the matter of how to sell your work.
Overall, an excellent resource to your writer's library, and well worth the price. Writers who aspire to blockbusterdom (or just plain bestseller status) owe Zuckerman a big thanks.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Anthony D Ravenscroft on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm torn. Normally, there are books I recommend to absolute beginners, & books I push on those who are about ready for publication. Zuckerman says more than a few things that someone who's just starting out should really ponder, but most of the book is for Serious Students.

In any case, please understand that Zuckerman's agenda is right there in the title: the "Blockbuster" part. This isn't about High Art -- it's about aiming for best-seller status, & improving your chances (however marginal) of getting there.

It's not an "easy how-to" sort of book: he expects you to read, & to study, & to do some actual work at becoming the sort of writer who can turn out a million-seller. To get the most out of this, you really ought to read _Gone with the Wind_ and _The Godfather_ and especially Follett's _The Man from St. Petersburg_.

Literally half the book is taken up by only two chapters (of fourteen) on respectively "The Outline Process" and "Revision" -- the two parts most shunned by the majority of writers who expect fame &/or fortune to fall at their feet.

In particular, creating & evolving an outline is something very likely to set your teeth on edge. Zuckerman does a great job (via Follett) of showing how a good idea becomes great, & then sells a million, by putting the outline through repeated upgrade.

For that reason alone, most hopeful writers will reject it. I'm still struggling with it myself, but I have to admit that a little doggedness here has already improved an idea of mine that I knew would never be fine art, but more & more looks like it could be a great thriller.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Writer on November 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Get this book! Even without studying the works Zuckerman references, tools crucial to a novelist are ludicly described. The references give context for his examples.
I read the work three times: the first time, without referring to the material; the second pass, having several of the reference works at hand; and the third, working through some of the examples.
One reviewer understandably was irritated about having to use these references. If you want to pair them down, get only Follet's _The Man from St.Petersburg_. Zuckerman refers to it most often - and the novel is fun too.
Along with Sol Stein's, _Stein on Writing_, Zuckerman's will sit next to Strunk and White on my shelf.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: creative writing hardcover