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

4.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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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.
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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: 6 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best books on the writing life I've read. The author treats fiction writing as 1/3 art, 1/3 craft, and 1/3 hard work. It offers practical advice, but is not a clonish book marketing book. It probably offers the best one sentence I've read about how to decide whether to pursue the fiction writer's life, because fame, fortune, and the love of women or men doesn't enter the equation. It's simply the following: 'Decide to pursue serious novel writing only if you HAVE to.' I agree. It's the one thing that keeps me 'going' in this ineluctable, lonely pursuit. Another gem I found here was that if you are a novelist or other type of creative writer, and you're at party, being asked, 'What do you do?', DON'T say you're a writer. If you are one, you probably know why. If you aren't one, and meet one, please just say, "That's interesting" and leave it at that. Do not ask 'Where do you get your ideas?" Do not say, "I have a great idea for a novel" and do not ask, "What have you written?"

I don't like Morrell's fiction, but I truly enjoyed this book.
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