The Successful Novelist

  • by David Morrell
  • Narrated by Patrick Lawlor
  • 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

David Morrell, best-selling author of First Blood, The Brotherhood of the Rose and The Fifth Profession, distills four decades of writing and publishing experience into this single masterwork of advice and instruction for fiction writers looking to make it big in the publishing world. With advice proven to create successful novels, Morrell teaches you everything you need to know about:


Plot
Character
Research
Structure
Viewpoint
Description
Dialogue
The business of publishing
And much more.

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What the Critics Say

“I found the acute observations and his narrative philosophy more valuable for the new writer than the contents of any 100 other texts.” (Dean Koontz)
“For anyone interested in the craft of writing, from beginners to seasoned veterans, this is a must read.” (Booklist)
“This is the best guidebook to both writing and the business of writing that I've ever read.” (Peter Straub)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

REALITY CHECK! Very Enlightening and practical.

I have been debating on attempting a novel and have no experience writing, other than college papers 15 years ago. What is really good about this book is that the author really seems to care about people who are interested, but not sure where to start. This book really is for people like me, who have this plot in their head and it needs to be written...now what. He includes very practical "getting started" advice, common mistakes, good advice on what seems like every concern to a novelist. He constantly uses himself and his experiences to show good and bad ideas, which is immensely helpful! He wrote First Blood (Rambo movie) and since most people are familiar with the movie, its easy to follow his examples using it. He also includes everything to expect from brainstorming your plot and characters, to actual writing, to organizing, to submitting drafts, to agents, to publishing, to movie contracts...all very interesting. The time spent on "how" to write in perspective was great. It feels graduate school quality. The biggest plus for me is that in all of this knowledge he is sharing, he is constantly writing to me, encouraging me to not write to achieve any of those things, but to write to satisfy myself. Mr. Morrell, this has been such a reality check and informing. It was a pleasure to read it. Thank You!
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- avoidthelloyd

Did Patrick Lawlor write this?

Firstly, I really enjoyed this reader. There were times where his delivery was so enthusiastic that I thought maybe HE wrote the book. Lawlor was the perfect match for Morrell's direct, clean, and clear prose.

This book features lots of advice and tips on writing the types of books Morrell writes -- thrillers. (I don't mean that pejoratively, if it sounds that way.) There's a good assortment of life stories on everything from Morrell's life before publication up to and including his present day success. I was pleased to hear a few real world figures. He includes statistics on how few people actually make a living as a professional writer. Morrell is one of the few writers to tell you honestly what he was paid for one of his projects. He breaks down the sale and history of First Blood for you.

He has an extended section where he rails against the use of first person point of view in fiction. For a former Literature professor he's surprisingly literal-minded when it comes to a first person story telling. He seems to accept only diary entry or oral history transcribed as the only plausible explanations for how a first person story gets into a reader's hands. I've always taken it as one of fiction's conventions that you were more or less inside the narrators head as the story is laid out for you.

That minor quibble aside, this book lives up to it's reputation and is well worth a listen.
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- Charles Floading

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-15-2011
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio