The Successful Novelist: A Lifetime of Lessons about Writing and Publishing
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"Like listening to a beloved brother. I found the acute observations and his narrative philosophy more valuable for the new writer than the contents of any 100 other texts."-Dean Koontz
"The Successful Novelist is the vehicle you want if you plan to drive your way to successful fiction."-Joe R. Lansdale
David Morrell, bestselling author of First Blood, The Brotherhood of the Rose and The Fifth Profession, distills more than fifty years of writing and publishing experience into this single masterwork of advice and instruction.
-Succeeding in publishing
-And much more
The Successful Novelist reveals the truth about writing, providing the perspective authors need to write successful fiction that sells.
better than the other. What I am suggesting is that narratives with rules are more difficult to write, especially when it comes to deciding how much or how little to develop your characters. In plot-driven stories, the goal is to create the illusion that the characters are more than types. That's hard to do without impeding the flow of the narrative. When inventing a character, it's helpful to remember Hemingway's iceberg theory. What's on the surface should imply an unstated depth. How do
said it's well written. " "Correct. In 1940, publishers would have jumped at it. But now it's old-fashioned. No matter how well written, it isn't going to attract a publisher if there are hundreds of books just like it. Good writing isn't enough. You need a vision, a new approach. How much research did you do?" "Research?" "Yes, how many private-eye novels did you read? What about Black Mask magazine? Did you find any good histories of the genre?" "Black Mask? Histories?" It
fact possible to have objective knowledge. When Dickens begins A Tale of Two Cities with the general observation, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity . . . " he's addressing readers who leaned toward the "belief" Dickens mentioned. His middle-class readers took for granted that absolute truth was knowable and had no difficulty accepting a world described from a
older now, seeing it differently. I feel as though I am both here now and back then, at once with the mind of a boy and a man. The story ends with the exact same paragraph. I wanted to create the effect that the intervening horrifying events had so traumatized the narrator that he would be eternally trapped in a constant present tense of his mind, forever resuffering what he had seen and done. In short, I had a reason for choosing the viewpoint. In three thousand words, I didn't feel its
kind of stories that gave him relief when he was a boy? A similar urge led me to write thrillers. When I was a kid, the family arguments drove me from our apartment above the hamburger joint. I went to a crowded bus stop, where I asked someone to give me a nickel. "Mister, I lost my bus fare. " A nickel is what it cost to get a ride on the bus, but fifteen cents is what it cost to get into a movie, which was my goal. So when everybody got on the bus, I hung back and went to another bus stop,