Book Recommendation for Fiction Writers

By August 18, 2011Writing

Lots of people feel they have the GAM (Great American Novel) inside of them. Even people who don’t live in America.

If you’re one of those people, I hope you’ll write that book. And to get you started I recommend a resource: Fiction Writing for Dummies, by Randy Ingermanson. (If you’re one of my writing students, you know Randy as “the snowflake guy.” If you’re not one of my students, no, Randy’s not flaky. He’s just got this snowflake metaphor that works for novel-writing.)

Randy is a wonderful teacher of fiction-writing. He has the best newsletter out there on the subject. And he’s taken some of his great content from seminars and blog posts and experience and stuffed it all into one resource. You can read the book in print or download it to your e-reader. And no, he did not pay me to say this. He did not even offer me a free book. Or anything.

The book Randy wrote will help you with strategic planning (my greatest weakness—if it’s yours, I feel your pain). It’ll also help you write believable scenes filled with unpredictable characters.

The book also helps you learn to edit your own stuff—which you must avoid doing till you have that crummy first draft finished. Otherwise you will probably give yourself a head-splitting case of writers’ block, like I have given myself on my dissertation by trying to edit as I go. Once you have your massively fabulous first draft entered into your glowing notebook, Randy will give you some tips on how to write a query letter, draft a synopsis, create a proposal, and pitch your project without fear. What are you waiting for?

For some of my own thoughts on the book-writing process, go here.

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