How to Write a Damn Good Novel
by James N. Frey
St. Martin’s Press 1987
Do you dream of being a novelist? I do.
Do you have the skill, capacity, and determination to begin? To persevere? To complete the process? I have written stories for a long time. I make a nice living writing international taxation treatises. I may be a writer, but I am not yet a novelist. I am persistent and hope to succeed in due course.
I love to think up plots, write stories, edit them, trying to improve my skills.
I self-published one book, Riddle of Berlin, in 2008. In the interim, I have written two additional manuscripts. I have selected one to make it the best I can. I took an on-line course from a wonderfully skilled, prominent author, with plenty of personal comment. She suggested a skilled editor, who was willing to work with me. Last year, at ThrillerFest in New York, I pitched it at AgentFest. Several agents asked for some or all of the story. I was not yet satisfied with the manuscript, so I worked with the editor, who sent be back to the drawing board.
She suggested that I read several novels, which I have done, digested, and reviewed, seeking for my own purposes to find the elements of successful craft.
Finally, she suggested that I read How to Write a Damn Good Novel. The book has obviously been around for awhile. My editor’s suggestion has been a thorough education for me. Gleaning my own take-aways from successful thrillers, then comparing what James N. Frey has to say in this elucidating tutorial has been very interesting for me. Frey’s explanation of the writing process is eye-opening, thoughtful, and helpful to me.
I am now ready to submit the manuscript again to the editor and prepare for ThrillerFest and AgentFest again.
If you want to be a novelist, you might want to consider such a path of self-education.