Lawrence Block, the award-winning crime fiction author, is almost as well known for his instructional books for writers and contributed a monthly column on fiction to Writers Digest for 14 years. Writing the Novel was his first book for writers and remained continuously in print since its original appearance in 1978. But the world of publishing has changed in the past 40 years, and Block has now expanded and updated his original text, bringing each chapter up to date and adding welcome new material on the audiobook revolution, the phenomenon of self-publishing and what perils and opportunities await the new novelist – and the veteran as well.
Unlike many advice-givers, Block doesn’t tell you what book to write, or the one and only way to write it. He holds that every novel is different, and so is every novelist; his aim is to give you the tools to enable you to find your own way. Here are some chapters:
1. Why Write a Novel? 2. Deciding Which Novel to Write 3. Read…Study…Analyze 4. Developing Plot Ideas 5. Developing Characters 6. Outlining 7. Using What You Know…and What You Don’t Know 8. Getting Started 9. Getting It Written 10. Snag, Dead Ends, and False Trails 11. Matters of Style 12. Length 13. Rewriting 14. Getting Published 15. The Case for Self-Publishing 16. The Case Against Self-publishing 17. How to Be Your Own Publisher 18. Doing It Again 19. Now It’s Up to You!
Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel is half again as long as the original version, and Lawrence Block has managed to retain all the 1978 text while bringing it up to date. As he would be the first to tell you, you don’t need this book – or any other – to succeed as a novelist. But thousands of writers have found it helpful. And most of us feel we can use all the help we can get.