- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Enter your mobile number 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.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
You Can Write A Novel 2nd Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Instead of starting at the beginning, typing thousands of words, suddenly finding yourself lost, then, naturally, abandoning the project, you're advised to plot your novel ahead of time. Then you're to begin writing at the best part, the end.
By writing a strong climax early on, you will clearly see where your novel is going, and you will be able to foreshadow effectively. Honestly, this one professional tidbit has helped me to finish my first story in a long time (a short story, granted, but the advice crosses over).
Smith shows you how to zoom out and see your novel as a whole, to write it out of order--always tackling the parts that inspire you most, first, above all others--and to fill in the lesser scenes later.
It almost makes writing fun. (Many of us don't write for fun, but out of compulsion.)
I'm currently reading another book about novel writing that's twice as long and less than half as effective. You Can Write a Novel by James Smith is short, HELPFUL, and enjoyable. This guy wields words with humor and authority. He makes me want to write a novel, which previously I'd feared. I couldn't imagine how to tackle such a project.
He'll make you beleive that you can, too.
Other invaluable advice he gives involves what to do once you finished the first draft. And it is up to date requiring word processors. He shows you how to do searches and look up offending words and types of words. In a word, brilliant.
In fact, he gives you no less then thirty-five items to go through for the revision stage. All of them valuable. Perhaps some of the most compact, yet best advice I have seen. Remember, the only thing between your novel and a best seller, is in the revision. These thirty-five steps will shine your work to brilliance! Go for it.
In short, if you haven't started your new novel yet, don't be a moron, buy this book and be signing your own books and a year or so. If you are part way through your present novel. Kick yourself for not buying this book first, buy it and use the editing section. This book goes on my shelf as a must read.
PS This book is yet another home run from "Writer's Digest Books" who is in my mind the premier source of fine how to write books.
PPS My short list of must reads:
The First Five Pages, Noah Lukeman
Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Mass
45 Master CHaracters, Victoria Lynn Schmidt
Dialogue, Gloria Kempton
Description & Setting, Ron Rozelle
Scene & Structure, Jack M.Read more ›
This book isn't a mystical cheerlead on the gift of writing, or a drawn-out analysis on the basic elements of fiction. This book is all about seat-in-the-chair/fingers-on-the-keyboard process! And not a long, drawn-out process of lengthy character biographies and overwhelming multi-page outlines. Too many books obsess over "the writing before the writing." This book is all about getting focused and then getting writing.
If you're ready to really produce something - not just dream about it - this book will help you do it.
I was skeptical till I tried it and surprised to found out how easy it was to get started! It's an excellent value - one of the most practical and useful books on novel writing that I own - and a definite keeper.
NOTE: THE ABOVE IS ONLY ABOUT THE *FIRST* EDITION. FOR THE 2ND EDITION, KEEP READING.
A disappointing rewrite. The first edition used old-school index cards and file folders, creating a portable, flexible system. Plus, he used a 10-scene strategy to quickly build the skeleton of the novel's plot.
All that is gone with this edition, and in fact, this book is now only for Word users, since it relies heavily on Word's "outline" view (a feature not currently available in OpenOffice or Google Docs). I'm glad I kept my old copy, as I think some of his improvements have left this method a little less accessible than previously.
Get organized. This book is what you need.
James V. Smith covers all necessary aspects of writing novel-length fiction, up to and including a unique way to organize characters and scenes on index cards, keeping all your info available when you need it.
Then, beyond the mechanical help, Smith gives you practical advice on the creative process. Learn how to revise by eliminating text; exactly how many main characters a well-crafted novel has in population; how to make those characters believable, and the reader care about them; how to start and keep going until you finish.
It's as good as a fiction workshop priced at ten times the price of this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I reviewed this book at library and I liked it so much, that I've purchased it for my own writing library. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ally Misery
James V. Smith is a pro and provides many great insights and tools to get your novel written efficiently and without the common errors of novice writers. Read morePublished 16 months ago by L. R. in So Cal
Very concise book, gives good advice, but of course ignore the author's I know what's best reasoning. Feel out each bit of info yourself.Published on August 11, 2013 by Fantasy
I love this book. I am a beginning novelist with a childhood dream to write that just bubbled to the surface of my life.This book is passionate, witty and direct. Read morePublished on June 1, 2013 by Kira Brooks
I am a writer, and am forever researching how to improve my skills. I was given James V. Smith, Jr.'s book titled "The Writer's Little Helper" and fell in love with it! Read morePublished on March 18, 2013 by Michelle Wilson
Really, this book doesn't bog you down by teaching you how to write, but it instructs you on how the form of a book matters, and what editors and publishers are looking for. Read morePublished on February 12, 2013 by Sgtkneecaps