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Book description

Have you ever wanted to write a novel or short story but didn't know where to start? If so, this is the book for you. It's the book for anyone, in fact, who wants to write to their full potential. Practical and jargon-free, rejecting prescriptive templates and formulae, it's a storehouse of ideas and advice on a range of relevant subjects, from boosting self-motivation and confidence to approaching agents and publishers. Drawing on the authors' extensive experience as successful writers and inspiring teachers, it will guide you through such essentials as the interplay of memory and imagination; plotting your story; the creation of convincing characters; the uses of description; the pleasures and pitfalls of research; and the editing process. The book's primary aim is simple: to help its readers to become better writers.


'I can't imagine there are any better books on the subject than this one.'

Louis de Bernières

'Reading The Book You Need… is like getting useful advice from your own personal mentor, one who is wise, experienced, encouraging, and delighted to share their encyclopedic knowledge of literary craft. For anyone who wants to be a better writer - listen carefully. The authors know what they’re talking about.'

Tara Ison - novelist; Professor of Fiction, Arizona State University

‘Whether you are a beginner or an advanced fiction writer, this book is an essential companion. From getting started to navigating the publishing industry and all that falls between, The Book You Need… examines the key concepts necessary to write your own novel with practical, insightful and expert advice.’

Tiffany Atkinson - poet; Professor of Poetry, University of East Anglia

‘Years of teaching expertise condensed into one of the most comprehensive journeys through the craft that I’ve seen. This book teaches in the most natural way, guiding you under the surface of a wide range of good writing, deep into the practical processes that bring it to life.’

Philip Gross - poet, winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize; Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing, University of South Wales

‘A terrific guide to becoming a better writer and embarking upon a publishing career. Burton and Poster have created a masterclass in print - comprehensive, authentic, clear, and insightful. A pleasure to read and to learn from, this handbook is a must-have for anyone who loves and practices the writing craft.’

Jewell Parker Rhodes - New York Times bestselling author, Founding Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, Arizona State University

‘This is a fresh, insightful, engaging and enjoyable guide to writing creative prose. If you want to become a novelist or short story writer, reading this book is a great first step.’

Francesca Rhydderch - novelist; Associate Professor in Creative Writing, Swansea University

‘For any novelist, published or aspiring, this smart and concise book will become a true and trusted mentor and friend.’

A. J. West

‘The best art of fiction book I've read in a long time, structured around close readings of novel extracts and offering lots of very wise, sound advice. Highly readable and never prescriptive, it's a book to be enjoyed and savoured. I love the chapter on beginnings and endings and the extremely useful one on research. This IS the book you need to become a better writer.’

Priscilla Morris - author of Black Butterflies

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