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Flogging the Quill: Crafting a Novel that Sells First Edition Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0578009353
ISBN-10: 0578009358
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Editorial Reviews

Review

It's a winner! For some time now, I've been a fan of Flogging the Quill, Rhamey's excellent blogsite about the how-to's of writing. Now he's compiled his expertise into a writing guide, and it's a must-have for any novelist--published or just aspiring. It's one of the most readable, entertaining books on writing out there. Whether you're writing your first novel or your twentieth, this book will provide the kick you need to start writing--and keep writing. Bestseller Tess Gerritsen

As an owner and managing editor of a publishing company, I've read many submissions that were near-misses. If the writers had had the benefit of this book, they'd be published right now. Witty, funny, and engaging, this is a must-read for the burgeoning storyteller and serious novelist, and it's a necessity for all editors who seek to nurture their writing clients. Laura Abbott, Editor/Publisher, Amber Quill Press

Learn the critical art of revision--ruthless and rigorous self-editing--from a man who understands it better than most. If you are ready to do the work, Ray Rhamey's book provides the sort of practical, sensible advice that really can help you become a better writer. Dan Conaway, Literary agent, Writers House

About the Author

Ray Rhamey is a novelist, screenwriter, and editor who has made a living with creativity, writing, and editing for over thirty years. He is a book editor and designer, Crrreative Book Editing and Design. He has done freelance developmental editing of book-length manuscripts since 2001, specializing in fiction by first-time novelists. His internationally known blog on the craft of storytelling, Flogging the Quill, draws 9,000 page hits per month. He also conducts workshops at writing conferences on crafting a killer first page and crafting killer description and dialogue scenes.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Flogging The Quill; First Edition edition (May 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578009358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578009353
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,333,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Inspektor on May 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent overview of all different aspects of the craft of writing-- from words to avoid ("of," "some") to ways to pace dialogue with beats to how to craft a compelling protagonist. The biggest weakness of this guide is also its biggest strength-- while Ray has an impressive resume, he is still at this point a student, editor, and teacher of novel writing rather than a published novelist himself. I recommend this novel especially to new writers who are having trouble with the basic elements of fiction-- I've read HOW TO WRITE THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, for example, and I think it is better for experienced novelists looking to be exceptional, while FLOGGING THE QUILL is better for new writers looking to master the technical side of novel writing. Ray is a great teacher who does a clear and comprehensive (as well as entertaining) job of bringing together advice from the best teachers in the biz and adding insights of his own.

The most useful sections to me included a helpful summery of McKee's (STORY) ideas about crafting protagonists, Ray's own epiphany about how we need to craft antagonists with motivations as complex as the protagonists, and the idea of granting characters "ghosts" and seeding future events early in the text.
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I've been reading Ray's website, Flogging the Quill, for several months. I intended to purchase a copy of his book at some point, but it took me a while to finally make the purchase. As an aspiring author in the Internet age, I thought there was enough information out there in the blogosphere to provide me with everything I needed for my arsenal. Boy, was I wrong. I wish that I would have purchased Flogging the Quill months ago. Had I bought the book when I first learned about it, I'm confident it would have saved me a tremendous amount of time and effort in the crafting, writing, and rewriting of my first novel.

Seriously, I love this book. First of all, the size is great. Funny thing to say, I know, but hear me out...I expected a small, hand-held paperback. I was pleasantly surprised to get a large workbook. Having enough room to write notes on the pages (instead of inside of a tiny margin) was tremendously helpful. Second, the book is filled with great real-world examples that clearly explain topics. And finally, Ray's voice is incredibly easy to follow - he takes complex concepts and breaks them down into a way that just "click" and make sense.

If you are writing a novel, planning on writing or novel, or have just thought about writing a novel - invest in this book. It's well worth every dollar spent! Thanks Ray!
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Format: Paperback
No sector of the publishing industry is as competitive as that of fiction. The competition facing any aspiring novelist is intense and only the best, most imaginative, and technically skilled will succeed. That's why 'how to' books like Ray Rhamey's "Flogging The Quill: Crafting A Novel That Sells" is such important, practical, and recommended reading for anyone who is seeking to establish a profitable career writing fiction, regardless of the genre they choose to specialize in. Drawing upon his years of experience as an author and editor, and as the creator of the 'litblog' 'Flogging the Quill' where writers from around the world can explore the craft of storytelling, Ray Rhamey has organized his instruction manual into seven major sections: Storytelling; Description; Dialogue; Technique; Words; Workouts; and Computer Tips. An invaluable compendium that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Flogging The Quill" will prove to be an invaluable 'workshop in a book' for anyone seeking to hone their storytelling skills and produce novels that will be able to successfully compete for publication and sales.
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Ray Rhamey has created a practical, easy to understand guide that teaches the art of writing in a way that benefits all writers, regardless of their experience level. After reading Ray's book and applying his advice to my own work, I had several short stories published. I definitely recommend this book to anyone serious about seeing their work published. I also recommend checking out Ray's interesting website, floggingthequill.com.
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I recently purchased Flogging the Quill and, being a first timer to the confusing and sometimes frustrating world of writing, can't live without it. I wish I had purchased before beginning my novel, but practice makes perfect and I am getting plenty of it. BUY THIS BOOK...it's worth the investment! Also, check out Ray's website Flogging the Quill. It's awesome for advice on improving your craft. Ray offers straight forward advice in his critiques without reducing you to tears. Thanks Ray!
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Ray's book has a lot of important insight for emerging writers who want to take their craft skills to the next level. Ray's advice on experiential description is on par with Donald Maass's 'micro tension' advice - critical to delivering top-shelf writing.

My one complaint is that size of the print-on-demand book. I think the author elected the 8.5 X 11 print size to cut costs, but the size is really unmanageable, and doesn't blend with the rest of the books on my how-to shelf. In addition to not liking the size, both for comfort of reading and aesthetics, the actual printed area of the text is much, much smaller than the size of the page, so that only serves to emphasize the author should have selected a 6 x 9 book template (or smaller). At the end of the day, authors who self-publish need to put readers' enjoyment and use of the book at the top of the priority list, rather than the net sale value that can be derived from each purchase.

If not for the odd-duck size of the book, I would give this how-to a 5-star rating. At the end of the day, it's the content that matters, but I sure don't like looking at it sticking out like a skyscraper surrounded by one-story buildings. Instead of keeping it on my shelf of fave how-to books (which I would have if the size were smaller), I'm going to donate it to the library where it will blend in better, and other writers can benefit from it.
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