Writing Popular Fiction

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Writer's Digest, 1972 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 232 pages
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Aspiring novelists are given advice on writing polishing, and marketing mysteries, suspense tales, Westerns, science fiction, and romances

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The author is famous for suspense thrillers. This book was written in his early thirties after publishing for four years and is notable for its vintage coverage of topics that were modern in the seventies though not mainstream, like various types of the Western or the BigSN behind-the-scenes sexy novel. There are lots of numbered lists. A couple of them are of seven kinds of things, e.g. genres including addition of scifi, fantasy, suspense, mysteries, and romance; and character motivations such as love, curiosity, self-preservation, greed, self-discovery, duty and revenge. Each type of story category has subtypes which are dissected, and an original text sample is provided. Five genre fiction requirements are strong plot, hero or heroine, believable motivation, a great deal of action, and colorful background. Revisions may be necessary, but don’t plan on them, since emotional attachment to the original draft makes it exciting and marketable. The writer can later be too critical after the original mood that a story was written in is gone, so it is good to give it to another reviewer rather than discard it. Chapter eight is titled the most important chapter in this book and it says to follow the rules in the other chapters until enough sales allow breaking some. There are a couple of methods to find story ideas, either playing with exotic titles or narrative hooks. Viewpoints and flashbacks are explained. The book exerts a contagious sense of confidence which may be useful for a new writer. 

About the author (1972)

Dean Koontz was born on July 9, 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania. He received a degree in education from Shippensburg State College in 1967. A former high school English teacher as well as a teacher-counselor with the Appalachian Poverty Program, he began writing as a child to escape an ugly home life caused by his alcoholic father. A prolific writer at a young age, he had sold a dozen novels by the age of 25. Early in his career, he wrote under numerous pen names including David Axton, Brian Coffey, K. R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Richard Paige, and Owen West. He is best known for the books written under his own name, many of which are bestsellers, including Midnight, Cold Fire, The Bad Place, Hideaway, The Husband, Odd Hours, 77 Shadow Street, Innocence, The City, and Saint Odd.

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