Reviews: How Not To Write A Novel

Amusing as well as informative

There are many books out there that tell writers what to do in order to get their works publishers. Few, however, tell writers what not to do, or do so in as humorous a fashion as this book does, making it a unique and very well written resource for aspiring writers.

The book, as the title implies, shows you various things you should not do while writing a novel. These range from style to technical details, from the overarching plot to smaller character interactions, and from writing the novel to getting it published. The book covers a great deal of ground and effectively goes into all the vital areas associated with writing.

The mistakes are illustrated with a variety of poorly written passages, that are quite humorous in their own ways, such as a Genre Savvy hero recording the villain outlining her plans. There are various other humorous aspects, such as multiple choice questions on how many typos you should erase before submitting your work for publication, and whether you've created characters that are too cliched or too eccentric. In doing so, the book also gives you some suggestions of what you should do, without seeming to dictate all of your writing decisions.

Of course, the passages illustrating what not to do tend to be somewhat exaggerated (for example, in "Mind of A Criminal," the villain plans on murdering an innocent girl to prevent people from getting discounts on eyeglasses), but they effectively show the mistakes, and why they detract from the story.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that when the book advises against certain decisions,they are observations, not ironclad rules, and the book points out cases in which going to the opposite extreme can be just as bad. It's possible to produce a good book while going against some of those suggestions, but you'll need to handle them with care and execute them well.

All in all, this book is well worth your time if you're interested in writing, and even if you're not planning on getting published, you'll likely find the novel quite an amusing and enjoyable read.
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