How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques For Dramatic Storytelling

“Damn good” fiction is dramatic fiction, Frey insists, whether it is by Hemingway or Grisham, Le Carre or Ludlum, Austen or Dickens. Despite their differences, these authors’ works share common elements: strong narrative lines, fascinating characters, steadily building conflicts, and satisfying conclusions. Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel is one of the most widely used guides ever published for aspiring authors. Here, in How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II, Frey offers powerful advanced techniques to build suspense, create fresher, more interesting characters, and achieve greater reader sympathy, empathy, and identification.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II also warns against the pseudo-rules often inflicted upon writers, rules such as “The author must always be invisible” and “You must stick to a single viewpoint in a scene,” which cramp the imagination and deaden the narrative. Frey focuses instead on promises that the author makes to the reader―promises about character, narrative voice, story type, and so on, which must be kept if the reader is to be satisfied. This book is rich, instructive, honest, and often tellingly funny about the way writers sometimes fail their readers and themselves.

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

Write Publish Promote at Cowgirlheart Media
Write, Publish, Promote. Words I am learning to live by. Want this to be your motto too? Join me and together we'll navigate the path to publishing success.

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Write, Publish, Promote. Words I am learning to live by. Want this to be your motto too? Join me and together we’ll navigate the path to publishing success.

3 Comments

  1. Indispensable! James Frey’s “Damn Good Novel” books, especially this one, give the aspiring novelist the tools necessary to create gripping, salable fiction. 

  2. a few good ideas This book covers the basics in a very conversational, provocative way. Frey challenges and provokes in an effort to get writers to re-examine what they’re doing and try to do it better. He discusses “the fictive dream and how to induce it,” suspense, memorable characters, “premise”, narrative voice, and the author-reader contract. By “premise” he means “a brief statement of what happens to the characters as a result of the actions of the story.” (p.51). He points out common mistakes with…

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