Books, life the universe

Sunday, 15 February 2009

How not to write a novel

How Not to Write a Novel: 200 mistakes to avoid at all costs if you ever want to get published by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. Not exactly a handbook on creative writing but a collection of examples (made up for the book) of what not to write. I found it slightly too Americanized and with too many swear words but it was amusing in spite of these criticisms. The trouble is, having read it you tend to become more critical of any fiction you read. It's a sort of light hearted version of the recent spate of scholarly tomes about how novels work I suppose. It would be useful if you wanted to write fiction but weren't quite sure what should be avoided. I suspect the cover will serve to sell it as it shows a lovable kitten and a gun and the fact it's published by Penguin will make some people buy it. I don't think Penguin got the cover right as I find it distasteful - I bought the book because I was interested in the subject matter - in spite of the cover.

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