How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman - Book Review



How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark - Book Review


There are thousands of books out there for budding writers that purport to show how to write your great novel. This book is somewhat different in that it endeavors to show you how NOT to write your novel, or novil, as was first written here.

The book lists two hundred mistakes to avoid at all costs, and if you are struggling to write a good book, then this list may well save you an awful lot of grief.

It is a well known fact that sex scenes are amongst the hardest to write, and boy, that sure is true! Reading some of the bungled attempts featured in this book and I can well believe it. I am not certain whether the “bad writing” featured in this guide is real or simply made up, but of one thing I am certain, some of the bad sex is so toe-curlingly awful, it becomes hugely amusing. It's enough to put one off sex, or at least writing about it, forever.

Surely no one could write this bad, you might be forgiven for thinking, yet we all know that bad writing is plastered all over the Internet under the guise of “my latest exciting book”.

As Lynne Truss commented about this book, the lady famous for her Eats Shoots and Leaves punctuation guide, “Heavens, what a joy this book is, extremely funny.”

The guide covers such facets as plot, dialogue, pacing, character essentials, bad guys, beginnings, endings, narrative stance, historical research, sentences and paragraphs, and much more besides.

At the end is a section entitled: How not to sell your novel, which again is incredibly funny if some of the enclosure letters to publishers repeated here are to be believed.

If you have been struggling to land a publishing deal of your own for years, or have just started out on that very rocky road, How Not To Write A Novel could well be the best book you have ever bought, and read.

Hugely amusing and mighty useful, I defy any writer not to look at their own work through different eyes once they have read this work. It comes highly recommended because it is both a great read, and downright useful. An essential addition to the bookshelf for anyone determined to find a traditional publisher to take on their work.

Good luck with that!


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