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Writing Fiction For Dummies

Randy Ingermanson, Peter Economy

ISBN: 978-0-470-53070-2 December 2009 384 Pages


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.

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