How NOT to write a novel, apparently

I’m not one for how-to books but something compelled me to get this How NOT to write a novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. Perhaps it was their claim that learning what not to do was more useful than being told what to do, or the amusingly aimed gun at the kitten’s head on the front cover, I’m not sure.

However after a couple of chapters I denounced it as obnoxious and hid it in the back of the cupboard. Then, after I finished my second novel (which hopefully will become my first, if you see what I mean) I reluctantly picked it up again and was amazed.

You will cringe slightly when they make a reference to something you know you’ve done, but once you recover from the initial embarrassment you’ll really appreciate the insider tips.

Before each helpful hint is a piece of humorous creative writing demonstrating their point. I’ve always found it hard to concentrate in libraries so I often get a coke and do research in the pub because I need noise – I know, freak – and I was actually laughing to myself. Loudly. People were looking; it’s lucky I don’t worry about that sort of thing. A man I’d had a bad date with recently came in and found me alone and laughing to myself. That is absolutely true.

Seriously, though, I really like this book, and I think you might like it too as many of its principals can be used for short stories as well. Enjoy!

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