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Writing Fiction For Dummies

ISBN: 978-0-470-53070-2
384 pages
December 2009
Writing Fiction For Dummies (0470530707) cover image


A complete guide to writing and selling your novel

So you want to write a novel? Great! That’s a worthy goal, no matter what your reason. But don’t settle for just writing a novel. Aim high. Write a novel that you intend to sell to a publisher. Writing Fiction for Dummies is a complete guide designed to coach you every step along the path from beginning writer to royalty-earning author. Here are some things you’ll learn in Writing Fiction for Dummies:

  • Strategic Planning: Pinpoint where you are on the roadmap to publication; discover what every reader desperately wants from a story; home in on a marketable category; choose from among the four most common creative styles; and learn the self-management methods of professional writers.
  • Writing Powerful Fiction: Construct a story world that rings true; create believable, unpredictable characters; build a strong plot with all six layers of complexity of a modern novel; and infuse it all with a strong theme.
  • Self-Editing Your Novel: Psychoanalyze your characters to bring them fully to life; edit your story structure from the top down; fix broken scenes; and polish your action and dialogue.
  • Finding An Agent and Getting Published: Write a query letter, a synopsis, and a proposal; pitch your work to agents and editors without fear.

Writing Fiction For Dummies takes you from being a writer to being an author. It can happen—if you have the talent and persistence to do what you need to do.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: Getting Ready to Write Fiction 7

Chapter 1: Fiction Writing Basics 9

Chapter 2: What Makes a Great Story? 21

Chapter 3: Finding Your Audience and Category 37

Chapter 4: Four Ways to Write a Great Novel 59

Chapter 5: Managing Your Time . . . and Yourself 71

Part II: Creating Compelling Fiction 85

Chapter 6: Building Your Story World: The Setting for Your Story 87

Chapter 7: Creating Compelling Characters 107

Chapter 8: Storyline and Three-Act Structure: The Top Layers of Your Plot 135

Chapter 9: Synopsis, Scene List, and Scene: Your Middle Layers of Plot 157

Chapter 10: Action, Dialogue, and More: The Lowest Layer of Your Plot 177

Chapter 11: Thinking Through Your Theme 203

Part III: Editing and Polishing Your Story and Characters 215

Chapter 12: Analyzing Your Characters 217

Chapter 13: Scrutinizing Your Story Structure 239

Chapter 14: Editing Your Scenes for Structure 259

Chapter 15: Editing Your Scenes for Content 273

Part IV: Getting Published 291

Chapter 16: Getting Ready to Sell Your Book: Polishing and Submitting 293

Chapter 17: Approaching Agents and Editors 315

Part V: The Part of Tens 327

Chapter 18: Ten Steps to Analyzing Your Story 329

Chapter 19: Ten Reasons Novels Are Rejected 337

Index 345

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Author Information

Randy Ingermanson is the award-winning author of six novels. He is known around the world as "the Snowflake Guy," thanks to his Web site article on the Snowflake method, which has been viewed more than a million times. Before venturing into fiction, Randy earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley. Randy has taught fiction at numerous writing conferences and sits on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers. He also publishes the world’s largest e-zine on how to write fiction, The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. Randy’s first two novels won Christy awards, and his second novel Oxygen, coauthored with John B. Olson, earned a spot on the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list. Visit Randy’s personal Web site at www.ingermanson.com and his Web site for fiction writers at www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Peter Economy of La Jolla, California, is a bestselling author with 11 For Dummies titles under his belt, including two second editions and one third edition. Peter is coauthor of Writing Children’s Books For Dummies, Home-Based Business For Dummies, Consulting For Dummies, Why Aren’t You Your Own Boss?, The Management Bible, and many more books. Peter also serves as Associate Editor of Leader to Leader, the Apex Award-winning journal of the Leader to Leader Institute. Check out Peter’s Web site at www.petereconomy.com.

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Press Release

August 24, 2011
Develop the Skills to Get Published.

Have an idea for a story? Do you dream of seeing your name on bookstore shelves? Writing fiction (whether a story, a play, or a novel) takes talent, discipline, and research.  For beginners aspiring to greatness and more experienced writers looking to learn new techniques, there’s a book from the trusty For Dummies® series that may be able to help.

Writing Fiction For Dummies (Wiley, 978-0-470-53070-2, Dec. 2009) covers the entire publishing process, from crafting a unique manuscript to finding an agent. But what some forget is that one of the keys to writing fiction is reading fiction, and there is a difference between reading for enjoyment and reading as an exercise in creativity. This book will teach you how to effectively read in order to write.

The book provides advice on:

  • How and what to research
  • Planning a daily writing schedule
  • Constructing believable characters
  • The importance of engaging dialogue and voice
  • Building a well-structured plot
  • How to overcome writer's block
  • How to structure, format, and present a proposal or manuscript
  • Tips for editing a manuscript from top to bottom
  • Business practices between authors, agents, publishers, and booksellers

Writing Fiction For Dummies can take you from being a writer to being an author. It can happen if you have the talent and persistence to do what you need to do.

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