Review: How Not to Write a Novel

How Not to Write a NovelHow Not to Write a Novel
by Howard Mittelmark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How Not To Write a Novel / 9780061862892

If you write, or if you work as an editor, or if you're a reviewer (hobbyist or professional!), or if you simply like to read a lot, I think you will like this book.

"How Not To Write a Novel" is an absolutely hilarious romp through some of the easy and common mistakes to avoid when writing a novel. Each mistake is carefully demonstrated with over-the-top, detailed examples that clearly show why something is a very bad idea. The reader going through this book will be nodding their head at many of the examples, amused to finally have a name to place on a phenomena they've encountered before, and the light tone and humorous example had me laughing so hard I was gasping for breath.

I don't agree with every single piece of advice here (just 95% of it!) but I honestly think that's part of the point. The authors make it very clear in the beginning, and then several times throughout, that these are stylistic choices and that someone, somewhere has managed to break one or more of these rules in a novel and still be successful. Critically acclaimed, even! This, to me, is more like very useful guidelines to help a writer *understand* a rule before they can decide whether or not to try to bend or break it.

I enjoyed this book completely, and it's one that I wanted to turn around and read right over again when I finished. I highly recommend it.

~ Ana Mardoll


chris the cynic said...

I find myself tempted to get the book, and then write something that includes every single mistake.

Nora said...

I absolutely love this book, and reread it periodically for the sheer fun of the snarkiness of their approach. Beautiful stuff.

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