How NOT to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs If You Ever Want to Get Published

Sandra Newman, Howard Mittelmark

How NOT to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs If You Ever Want to Get Published

There are many ways prospective authors routinely sabotage their own work. But why leave it to guesswork? Misstep by misstep, How Not to Write a Novel shows how you can ensure that your manuscript never rises above the level of unpublishable drivel; that your characters are unpleasant, dimensionless versions of yourself; that your plot is digressive, tedious and unconvincing; and that your style is reliant on mangled clichés and sesquipedalian malapropisms. Alternatively, you can use it to identify the most common mistakes, avoid them and actually write a book that works. Guardian Award shortlisted novelist Sandra Newman and veteran editor Howard Mittelmark have distilled 30 years of teaching, editing, writing and reviewing fiction into a hilarious and liberating guide that is the perfect read for anyone who’s ever laughed at a badly written piece of prose and for anyone who’s ever penned one – and doesn’t want to do it again. 4.1 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
How NOT to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs If You Ever Want to Get Published

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Reference, Literary Studies & Criticism
Format Paperback
Pages 272
RRP £9.99
Date of Publication January 2009
ISBN 978-0141038544
Publisher Penguin
 

There are many ways prospective authors routinely sabotage their own work. But why leave it to guesswork? Misstep by misstep, How Not to Write a Novel shows how you can ensure that your manuscript never rises above the level of unpublishable drivel; that your characters are unpleasant, dimensionless versions of yourself; that your plot is digressive, tedious and unconvincing; and that your style is reliant on mangled clichés and sesquipedalian malapropisms. Alternatively, you can use it to identify the most common mistakes, avoid them and actually write a book that works. Guardian Award shortlisted novelist Sandra Newman and veteran editor Howard Mittelmark have distilled 30 years of teaching, editing, writing and reviewing fiction into a hilarious and liberating guide that is the perfect read for anyone who’s ever laughed at a badly written piece of prose and for anyone who’s ever penned one – and doesn’t want to do it again.

Reviews

The Independent on Sunday

Lesley McDowell

...an invaluable guide... With the commercial novel very much in mind, they run through all of the staples – plot, character, theme, style, voice – sharply and concisely, and show just how easy it is to get it horribly wrong. This book can leave you reeling, though, and spotting horrific mistakes everywhere, even in classics written by the masters. So you may want to leave it a while before you attack that manuscript again.

08/02/2009

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The Sunday Times

Lynne Truss

The great pleasure of this book is what light work the authors appear to make of it. Generalising may look easy, but it involves considerable intellectual labour - none of which, in this case, is visible in the finished text... Personally, what I will treasure most is their memorable admonishment on overelaborate prose. Writing is not like figure skating, they say. Flashy stuff doesn't earn you points and it doesn't make you move up in competition.

25/01/2009

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The Observer

Kate Saunders

Newman and Mittelmark make up typical examples of dreadful prose, often so accurately that even the vainest are likely to recognise their own howlers and lapses of taste... The tone is maliciously gleeful, and the authors have slightly too much fun with their spoof "examples", but it is all wrapped around some very sound advice for the wannabe novelist.

01/02/2009

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The New Statesman

Jemima Hunt

Read as a work of fiction, How NOT to Write a Novel is like an old-fashioned campus novel, in which the ideals of knowledge are eclipsed by the transgressions of the staff. Creative writing, academia’s newest recruit, is fair game. This being a How not to . . . book, the help it dispenses is hijacked by anti-intellectual satire. For the best piece of advice, skip to page 246: “Relax, take a deep breath, and get back to work.”

05/03/2009

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