Words of wisdom

Here are some good bits from Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman’s – How Not To Write A Novel that I’ve been reading for the last couple of hours. First off, most of it is common-sense stuff, but they manage to point out an array of the most common mistakes made by unpublished authors in a hilarious way 😉


“We wouldn’t want to create any anxiety in the reader, now, would we? That might lead to suspense, which might lead to a book sale an – God forbid, royalties!”


“This particular plunder is known as deus ex machina which is French for ‘Are you fucking kidding me?'”

-loved that one and second it very much so 😉

How not to describe your character: The Kodak Moment – character is looking at a photo of themselves, detailed description ensues…oh please…

Also really loved the section about How not to name a cat – if there has to be one and the how to create an unintentional love interest part – Don’t let two friendly guys go to bed together, your average reader will assume they’re gay. Ares and Damian would probably agree on that, but hey at least my characters are very straight-forward at being gay – nothing to mislead anyone, it’s obvious 😉


“Now that I have you in my power, I shall tell you my whole life story!”

yeah, don’t do that 8)

The section on dialog is definitely helpful to anyone who’s trouble distinguishing their characters’ voices from their own narrative voice etc. There are also good points on structure and vocabulary (no, don’t use Shakespeare vocabulary in an urban fantasy setting 😉 )

Oh and here’s most likely my favorite line of the entire book:

“How did I get to be the protagonist? Easy! I fucked the author!”

This one definitely cracked me up 😉

For everyone who doesn’t read agents’ blogs, there’s also some advice in regards to query letters and no you should NOT try to sell an unfinished manuscript. But for details I’d definitely stick to the agent blogosphere, there’s some really good help there.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and it really made me laugh at times. There wasn’t all that much new stuff to be learned, but How Not To Write A Novel definitely sharpens your awareness of the most commonly made mistakes so it’s definitely helpful for writing/editing. My stamp of hilarious approval 😀


2 Responses to “Words of wisdom”

  1. dfrucci Says:

    lmao those were funny as hell. Nice post

  2. nymeria87 Says:

    They’re pretty godsdamn true too 😉

    loved the “This is French for Are You Fucking Kidding Me?” part 😉

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