I just finished reading On Writing the Block Buster Novel

I’ve finally finished reading yet another book on writing. It takes me a while because I tend to read bits of it in the fifteen or so minutes that I have to wait for class.

I enjoyed Writing the Block Buster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. It was truly interesting, if somewhat difficult for me to apply.

See, it’s clear from Mr. Zuckerman’s words that he favors plotting. Which is all very good and well. Except that I can’t plot. The few times I tried all ended in failure.

Anyway, the one thing that I am glad for is the fact that I finished drafting Doorways before I started reading this book, because it was full of ways to help me focus what I have written.

That was probably the one thing that I learned from the book. The need to commit the reader to the story with interesting and not wholly unlikeable characters. The need for there to be an over-arching plot question. The need for rhythm in the plot.

And so on. Although I already knew some of those things instinctively, it was nice to actually read someone else’s feelings about them in words.

Have you ever read Writing the Block Buster Novel? What did you think of it?


14 thoughts on “I just finished reading On Writing the Block Buster Novel

  1. 'It's clear from Mr. Zuckerman's words that he favors plotting. Which is all very good and well. Except that I can't plot. The few times I tried all ended in failure.'

    Lol, glad I'm not the only one! My plots form as I write, only way it works for me really 🙂

  2. I've read a couple books on writing, but that isn't one of them.

    Like you, I've found that one can pick and choose from the advice because what works for one writer certainly doesn't work for all writers.

  3. I could help you plot out a story sometime Misha. I promise, it's not hard and it can go really well with someone that is asking you questions. Like you could say to me… I have a main character and he looks like this. Then I ask you…”what does he do? Why is he motivated to do these things? Is there a bad guy? Who is it?”

    In the course of answering all of those questions, you will discover…voila…plot!

  4. I've read it and thought it was great book. Good for beginners, but better if you have some experience. Every writer has their own “process”, but I've found a rough outline can be helpful. Before I start writing, I know how my story will end. What happens along the way does change from my original concept as my characters take shape and demand a few changes. If you're not naturally a plotter, just try writing a rough synopsis, but don't force yourself to follow it to the letter. Give yourself leeway to make changes.

  5. Hi Misha,

    Great blog, BTW.

    I read this book a long while back. I found it helpful, but not enough to actually write a 'blockbuster novel' (yet!). From memory, he suggests you give the book a 'global feel' – easier said than done, since most novels are restricted by the chosen location. I do recall it being a useful book though. However, personally, you can't beat Stephen King's 'On Writing'.

    Glad I found you all.

    Kind Regards,

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