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Fiction Writing Demystified: Techniques That Will Make You a More Successful Writer | [Thomas B. Sawyer]

Fiction Writing Demystified: Techniques That Will Make You a More Successful Writer

At last, a how-to book that explains the nuts-and-bolts of writing solid, entertaining, commercial fiction, written by someone who's been there. Practical, filled with examples and no-nonsense, take-'em-to-the-bank nuggets, Fiction Writing Demystified shows how the imperatives of effective storytelling translate readily to narrative fiction, genre or literary, screenwriting, even to nonfiction, poetry, sermons, or business documents - techniques that will make anyone's writing come alive!
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Publisher's Summary

At last, a how-to book that explains the nuts-and-bolts of writing solid, entertaining, commercial fiction, written by someone who's been there. Practical, filled with examples and no-nonsense, take-'em-to-the-bank nuggets, Fiction Writing Demystified shows how the imperatives of effective storytelling translate readily to narrative fiction, genre or literary, screenwriting, even to nonfiction, poetry, sermons, or business documents - techniques that will make anyone's writing come alive!

Tom Sawyer knows about successful creative writing - and how to teach the subject, from UCLA to Writers University to the Maui Writers Conference.

Emmy and Edgar-nominated, Showrunner/Head Writer ofthe classic TV series, Murder, She Wrote, he authored the best-selling thrillers The Sixteenth Man, and No Place to Run. He is co-lyricist/co-author of JACK, the opera about JFK that has been performed to acclaim in the U.S. and Europe.

©2002, 2007 Thomas B. Sawyer (P)2012 Thomas B. Sawyer

What the Critics Say

"Where was this book when I set out to write my first novel? Smart, funny, dead-on accurate - buying this book is like putting a down-payment on a ticket to the best-seller list. (Linda Fairstein, best-selling novelist, author of The Bone Vault and The Deadhouse)

"Absolutely devoured your book! Pages folded back, underlinings, margin notes. A treasure trove, brother. Fabulous." (Jerry B. Jenkins, writer of the mega-selling Left Behind novels)

"Really wonderful. The most specific and helpful I’ve ever read - not only for the beginner but for the experienced writer." (Barnaby Conrad, best-selling author of the classic, Matador)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (53 )
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  •  
    A. Yoshida 09-19-13
    A. Yoshida 09-19-13
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    "Good guide for novice fiction writers"

    The author's background is in television, so the techniques and examples relate more to screenwriting rather than fiction writing in general. I liked that the author gave plenty of good examples (and some bad) of popular television series that demonstrate techniques in developing plot, characters, dialogue, and suspense. This book is an excellent guide for anyone who hasn't been exposed to basic techniques of fiction writing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 08-11-13
    Michael 08-11-13

    Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.

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    "Fantastic Stuff"

    A god send if you are looking on how rather than why, or what. This book will help you cut the crap and get on with the business. You still need talent but this book will give the right direction to making it happen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amity_chief NC 08-22-14
    amity_chief NC 08-22-14
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    "Great book - don't pay attention to weird reviews"

    I felt the need to review this book for two reasons. First, it is a helpful book filled with amusing and insightful hints on how to improve your storytelling. Especially for an amateur fiction writer like myself, I found it highly accessible and informative. More importantly, though, I wanted to respond to one of the other reviews on this site that claims the audiobook is unlistenable because the narrator pauses occasionally to read author names of referenced works. I felt this was worth addressing because I almost didn't purchase the book after reading that review. After having listened to the book, however, I am puzzled by that reviewer's complaints. The listing of author names is only a tiny, tiny fraction of the entire text, yet the reviewer would lead you to believe that you are listening to book a full of writing credits. I find it very odd that it would be the salient point taken from listening to this book. Further, I would suggest that if the reviewer doesn't have enough reverance to listen to a few names of people who have written the best examples of fiction (examples that often perfectly illustrate the author's points), then they should probably re-think why they purchased the book in the first place. Either way, once you read the book, you will likely agree with me that those comments are misplaced and just...strange.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brent Winters 04-14-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Repetitive cringe-inducing credits ruin this!"
    What disappointed you about Fiction Writing Demystified?

    While this book has some good content to improve your writing, I'd suggest you skip this audiobook, or buy the printed book instead! Otherwise know you will be forced to listen to the TV script author's incessant need to cite the writer, director, producer, etc. for each and every one of the many dozens of TV show and movie examples he gives. It's like being forced to read the list of end credits for dozens of movies, or watch every commercial on TV, without actually seeing the show. If I had the printed book, I might have at least been able to skip over this repetitive dribble.

    This is a shame, as the author otherwise does a nice job of narrating the book. His advice to cut out anything that is not essential to the story, however, conflicts with the droll nature of listing the writer, director, producer, and whoever for each and every TV/Movie name he drops (which he names many, and often several at a time). Perhaps it is his loyalty to his industry that makes him do it, or his writers union contract. Whatever the reason, it's mundane detail that repeatedly distracts the listener from the real content of the book.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny Greenestone California 11-19-12
    Penny Greenestone California 11-19-12
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    "Entertaining and Helpful!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! Writers will enjoy this book - and benefit from all the good tips on creating characters, writing dialogue, developing a plot and most of all - entertaining their readers.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Listening to this book is like having Tom Sawyer teach an entire course in fiction writing - with many hilarious stories from his own experiences in TV writing as well as many real examples of how to be an excellent writer.


    What does Jeffrey Thibeault bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Jeffrey does a great job of narrating this book - very breezy and lively style - a pleasure to listen to him.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book made me rush back to my computer and try to finish my screenplay using some of the good ideas I had just heard.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 12-26-13
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 12-26-13 Member Since 2008

    Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unsystematic information..."

    This book has the authors opinion on do's and don'ts of general writing (techniques). There is little about getting started and NO STEP BY STEP instructions, which is what I hoped for. You won't learn anything about writing software, publishing, or much about editing. Don't get me wrong, there is a LOT of good information in here, but its not very user friendly (at least in audio format) I would hope the paper copy would contain outlines that summarize the contents into a usable form. There is good information about belittling your reader, story pace and self editing. The author is a screen writer by profession, so expect a lot of his examples and references to be TV and movies. It is kind of funny how often Sawyer says, "This is a cardinal no-no..." and then immediately gives an example of an exception he likes really well. You can easily listen at 1.5x speed. The narration was good. I like 'The Successful Novelist by David Morrell' better. Hope this helps. Later.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Tara NOWATA, OK, United States 04-30-13
    Tara NOWATA, OK, United States 04-30-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Helpful information"

    There is a lot of useful information in this book. I ended up buying the kindle edition as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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