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Writing fiction for dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy

When I first set out writing my novel, I think I started planning after reading Randy’s website about the snowflake method. It was something that seemed obvious to me, and I was surprised to read that he said many people don’t already use it.

The snowflake method, for those who don’t know, is a way of planning a novel by starting with a rough outline and then expanding various components of it until you have a cohesive series of events that fulfils the various criteria of tension and story arc.

Writing fiction for dummies uses this method and explains how it works in great depth. Randy’s style is friendly and informative with some good examples based on a ‘fictional work of fiction’. Initially, when I started writing, I had no idea what I was doing and balked at the suggestion that readers want an emotional experience. I foolishly hung on to my notion that a novel could stand up perfectly without giving in to emotion, but by the time I finished reading the book I realised I was completely wrong.

Being a dummies guide, the book doesn’t go into extreme depth but instead covers most of the major topics involved in planning, writing, publishing, and marketing your novel. Many of the style and plot refinements I developed only after reading several books dedicated to distinct aspects of writing. Nevertheless, for those wanting to understand how to write novels and short stories, this book is a perfect starting point.