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The Liar's Bible: A Handbook for Fiction Writers

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Four-time Edgar Award-winning author Lawrence Block's definitive essay collection on the art of writing fictionFor ten years, crime novelist Lawrence Block funneled his wealth of writing expertise into a monthly column for Writer's Digest. Collected here for the first time are those pieces illuminating the tricks of the authorial trade, from creating vibrant characters and Four-time Edgar Award-winning author Lawrence Block's definitive essay collection on the art of writing fictionFor ten years, crime novelist Lawrence Block funneled his wealth of writing expertise into a monthly column for Writer's Digest. Collected here for the first time are those pieces illuminating the tricks of the authorial trade, from creating vibrant characters and generating seamless plots, to conquering writer's block and experimenting with self-publishing.Filled with wit and insight, The Liar's Bible is a must-read for experts, amateurs, and anyone interested in learning to craft great fiction from one of the field's modern masters.This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lawrence Block, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author's personal collection."Block is one of the best " -The Washington PostLawrence Block (b. 1938) is a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and an internationally acclaimed New York Times bestselling author. His awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award from the Crime Writers' Association (UK). Although he is best known for his four main mystery series, Block explored a variety of genres, including thrillers and erotica, and developed an early following as a pulp-fiction writer under a number of pseudonyms. Born in Buffalo, New York, Block has three daughters and currently lives with his wife in New York City.


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Four-time Edgar Award-winning author Lawrence Block's definitive essay collection on the art of writing fictionFor ten years, crime novelist Lawrence Block funneled his wealth of writing expertise into a monthly column for Writer's Digest. Collected here for the first time are those pieces illuminating the tricks of the authorial trade, from creating vibrant characters and Four-time Edgar Award-winning author Lawrence Block's definitive essay collection on the art of writing fictionFor ten years, crime novelist Lawrence Block funneled his wealth of writing expertise into a monthly column for Writer's Digest. Collected here for the first time are those pieces illuminating the tricks of the authorial trade, from creating vibrant characters and generating seamless plots, to conquering writer's block and experimenting with self-publishing.Filled with wit and insight, The Liar's Bible is a must-read for experts, amateurs, and anyone interested in learning to craft great fiction from one of the field's modern masters.This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lawrence Block, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author's personal collection."Block is one of the best " -The Washington PostLawrence Block (b. 1938) is a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and an internationally acclaimed New York Times bestselling author. His awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award from the Crime Writers' Association (UK). Although he is best known for his four main mystery series, Block explored a variety of genres, including thrillers and erotica, and developed an early following as a pulp-fiction writer under a number of pseudonyms. Born in Buffalo, New York, Block has three daughters and currently lives with his wife in New York City.

30 review for The Liar's Bible: A Handbook for Fiction Writers

  1. 5 out of 5

    William King

    This is not the best book Block has written about writing (IMHO Telling Lies For Fun And Profit and Writing the Novel are both better) but few people have more useful things to say about the business of writing and being a writer than Mr Block. This is a collection of articles from his old Writer's Digest columns. Some of them, such as the one on writers finances, are still invaluable advice today. Some of them, particularly the ones where he was huckstering for the course he was then teaching, This is not the best book Block has written about writing (IMHO Telling Lies For Fun And Profit and Writing the Novel are both better) but few people have more useful things to say about the business of writing and being a writer than Mr Block. This is a collection of articles from his old Writer's Digest columns. Some of them, such as the one on writers finances, are still invaluable advice today. Some of them, particularly the ones where he was huckstering for the course he was then teaching, are a little dull. Many of the articles have the nostalgic charm of a 1930's movie. They were written in a time when authors still used typewriters and went downstairs to check the mail at lunchtime to see if any word had come in from a publisher. I'd recommend this book to anybody interested in the writing trade but only after they had read the two books mentioned above. That is the place to start.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad

    این کتاب در مورد نویسندگی کتاب های داستانیه. فصل های کتاب در واقع هر کدوم یک مقاله بودن که توی سالهای مختلف نوشته شدن. و ترتیب فصل بندی هم به ترتیب زمان انتشار مقالاته. سال های 1981 تا 1987. در نتیجه ارتباط معناداری بین فصول وجود نداره. چند فصل ابتدایی در مورد مشکلات زندگی نویسندگی و نحوه فعالیت و کسب درآمد و موارد مشابه صحبت می کنه. در مورد خود نویسندگی، مثلا ویژگی های و تطابق مکان ها توی واقعیت و داستان، اسم گذاری شخصیت ها و شخصیت پردازی و مواردی از این دست هم مطالبی اومده. چند فصل هم به ویژگی این کتاب در مورد نویسندگی کتاب های داستانیه. فصل های کتاب در واقع هر کدوم یک مقاله بودن که توی سالهای مختلف نوشته شدن. و ترتیب فصل بندی هم به ترتیب زمان انتشار مقالاته. سال های 1981 تا 1987. در نتیجه ارتباط معناداری بین فصول وجود نداره. چند فصل ابتدایی در مورد مشکلات زندگی نویسندگی و نحوه فعالیت و کسب درآمد و موارد مشابه صحبت می کنه. در مورد خود نویسندگی، مثلا ویژگی های و تطابق مکان ها توی واقعیت و داستان، اسم گذاری شخصیت ها و شخصیت پردازی و مواردی از این دست هم مطالبی اومده. چند فصل هم به ویژگی های روانی و ذهنیت مناسب و روش های کنار اومدن با مشکلاتی که توی راه موفقیت در نویسندگی هست پرداخته. از کارهای داستانی خود نویسنده چیزی نخوندم. احتمالا هم نمی خونم. ولی یکی دو تا از تکنیک هایی که برای نویسندگی آورده بود، همین الان برای من قابل اجراست و مسلما به کار می گیرم. به نسبت مطالبی که آموزش می ده خیلی طولانیه. داستان سرایی زیادی داره.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stan James

    Anyone looking for nuts and bolts advice on writing should be warned that this is a collection of some of Block's fiction columns from Writer's Digest, and as such they sometimes provide instruction or advice, but sometimes Block just takes you along on his musings about the writing life. It's probably also relevant to add that the columns in question date from 1981 to 1987. He mentions typewriters a lot. And that is probably what I enjoyed most about the book. Some of the writing advice is Anyone looking for nuts and bolts advice on writing should be warned that this is a collection of some of Block's fiction columns from Writer's Digest, and as such they sometimes provide instruction or advice, but sometimes Block just takes you along on his musings about the writing life. It's probably also relevant to add that the columns in question date from 1981 to 1987. He mentions typewriters a lot. And that is probably what I enjoyed most about the book. Some of the writing advice is obviously dated--he has a wonderfully detailed column about self-publishing his own book that isn't particularly relevant to how self-publishing works in the 2010s, but Block has such an affable style that the column still entertains. The columns also serve to paint a portrait of the author as he draws extensively on his own experience writing and publishing--he had been in the business about 25 years at the time these columns were new--and in a way, this makes the pieces serve as a kind of memoir. Block recounts his early days writing soft porn novels, confesses to questionable behavior in his youth, details his fights with editors, agents and others, and regularly reminds the reader that what works for him may not work for them and to adjust as needed. If you want a no-nonsense book about writing full of advice on plot, pacing, story structure, characters--you will find that here, to a degree. But more than that, you will get a good glimpse into the life and habits of a particular writer, and a snapshot look back at what the writing life was like in the 1980s. I wouldn't recommend this as your first book on writing advice, but I would recommend it as one of the books to check out.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I am fascinated by the creative process and there are few excellent examples of this that I have found – there is Koestler’s The Act of Creation insightful in a general way– but I have found only two worth their salt about working creators – Trauffaut’s interviews with Hitchcock collected in Trauffaut/Hitchcock and Thomas Hoving’s two interviews with Andrew Wyeth – published as Autobiography and Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth – but reading Lawrence Block’s collected columns on writing from Writer’s I am fascinated by the creative process and there are few excellent examples of this that I have found – there is Koestler’s The Act of Creation insightful in a general way– but I have found only two worth their salt about working creators – Trauffaut’s interviews with Hitchcock collected in Trauffaut/Hitchcock and Thomas Hoving’s two interviews with Andrew Wyeth – published as Autobiography and Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth – but reading Lawrence Block’s collected columns on writing from Writer’s Digest I have discovered outstanding examples of this somewhat mysterious creative process. Now I am anxious to read his other collected columns – Block of course writes so fluidly that, as one Stephen King fan commented, I would probably read his grocery list – but he also asks brilliant questions of himself and does a terrific job answering and commenting on these. This is a must read for anyone intrigued by writers, artists, the creative process or those eager to write whether already published or hoping to be soon.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Boni Aditya

    The author seems to have misunderstood the concept of a book, I personally dislike books that are compiled from previously written articles that are barely related to each other. It resembles a coat stitched with a thousand rags picked off the road! I dislike such works. This book is built of columns that talk about various concepts, though all of them are related to Writing, Editing or Publishing or other trades of writing. The book offers sound advice, most of it though the authors own The author seems to have misunderstood the concept of a book, I personally dislike books that are compiled from previously written articles that are barely related to each other. It resembles a coat stitched with a thousand rags picked off the road! I dislike such works. This book is built of columns that talk about various concepts, though all of them are related to Writing, Editing or Publishing or other trades of writing. The book offers sound advice, most of it though the authors own experience, and thus has a greater validity to the claim. The book does not respect the time of the reader, since the book can be cut in half without any loss in value added to the reader. The author has deliberately made the book voluminous, most of the content in just gooey emotional stuff. Yes, there are a many columns that are extremely well written but a few columns like self-publishing, or a piece about getting into the character or any piece written about the emotional dilemmas of the writer are plain and simple, and do not deserve any attention. There are other columns which are more technical in nature, i.e in the sense that they talk about the art of fiction as to decipher the steps involved, the character build up, the isolation set up, and other tricks of the trade that a writer would need are well captured. But this book isn't an exceptional one, i.e. yow will not be exposed to epiphanies and mind blowing revelations, the book is composed of common sense logic and anecdotes of the author and this experiences with his novels, the characters within this, the author has devoted fairly large amount of space for this purpose. Sometimes the same concepts are repeated across various columns and the author did not have the time or did not want to remove them on purpose. WHAT EVER BE THE CASE, this book does not add so much value per page, as does Stephen King's ON WRITING- MEMOIRS OF A CRAFT, which was quite thin and added more value than this entire book combined. I wish the author was more direct and quick to reveal facts.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I couldn't say no to this for $2.99 in the Kindle store, and I'm glad I didn't. Block's advice is helpful, interesting and humorous. Here are a few gems from this book. "A chapter in a novel, I seem to recall having written, ought to be long enough to reach from the preceding chapter to the next one. Similarly, a short story or novel ought to be long enough to extend from the first word to the last. Lincoln said much the same thing of legs—i.e., that they ought to be long enough to reach the I couldn't say no to this for $2.99 in the Kindle store, and I'm glad I didn't. Block's advice is helpful, interesting and humorous. Here are a few gems from this book. "A chapter in a novel, I seem to recall having written, ought to be long enough to reach from the preceding chapter to the next one. Similarly, a short story or novel ought to be long enough to extend from the first word to the last. Lincoln said much the same thing of legs—i.e., that they ought to be long enough to reach the ground." "My approach is intuitive rather than logical, and I’m satisfied that I punctuate correctly. And so, I might add, do other writers, some of whom punctuate very differently than I do. Donald Westlake uses more commas than I do. Brian Garfield uses far fewer. Were I assigned the chore of copy editing their books, I would not dream of adding commas to Brian’s sentences or yanking them out of Don’s. It’s abundantly clear to me that they both know what they’re doing. (Once, incidentally, the two of them collaborated on a novel. How they fought over commas!)" However, there are a few issues I had with the book. It is very outdated, with numerous mentions about typewriters and crumpling up wasted pages of writing -- romantic images, but unlikely to help a modern day writer pounding away on a keyboard. It is also a bit repetitive, which shouldn't be too surprising, as all this advice comes from one author through a series of monthly columns over a period of years (there are over forty columns in total in the book). Also worth noting is that this book follows a book he wrote titled Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, which is his first compilation of columns he wrote for Writers' Digest magazine, which leads me to believe that the fresher columns lie in that volume, and I would recommend starting there, if you can handle the steeper Kindle price of $9.99.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Irena

    An invaluable read if you are interested in writing. The book is compiled of monthly columns the author wrote for the Writer's Digest in 80s. At first I was afraid it would be an assemblage of dated and fragmented writing advice. Nothing of the sort -- it's a treasure trove of nuts and bolts of writing, and especially of guts of writing, aka what writing fiction really is about, problems, obstacles and dilemmas writers are faced with ("guts" metaphor belongs to the author himself). Though there An invaluable read if you are interested in writing. The book is compiled of monthly columns the author wrote for the Writer's Digest in 80s. At first I was afraid it would be an assemblage of dated and fragmented writing advice. Nothing of the sort -- it's a treasure trove of nuts and bolts of writing, and especially of guts of writing, aka what writing fiction really is about, problems, obstacles and dilemmas writers are faced with ("guts" metaphor belongs to the author himself). Though there are plenty of references to typewriters, printed pages and researching in the library and zero mention of Internet and computers, this only serves to demonstrate how easier technicalities of writing had become, allowing to concentrate on the writing itself. And this book may be a great help and inspiration for this purpose. I suppose Lawrence Block's other books on writing "Telling Lies for Fun and Profit" and "From Plot to Print" are even better, or are at least equally good. I'm definitely going to read them too. I've started from this particular book because I had it as on audio -- and what better opportunity could there be for reading than in a traffic jam.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

    What an absolute treat it is to re-read these columns, nearly 30 years after I first read many of them in the pages of Writer's Digest. I first started reading WD in high school, and subscribed for years, mostly for Lawrence Block's fiction-writing columns. This book collects all of his pieces from that era. Sure, a few pieces of advice -- mostly related to the marketplace for fiction -- have since become, oh, just slightly dated, but most of the wisdom still applies, not just for fiction What an absolute treat it is to re-read these columns, nearly 30 years after I first read many of them in the pages of Writer's Digest. I first started reading WD in high school, and subscribed for years, mostly for Lawrence Block's fiction-writing columns. This book collects all of his pieces from that era. Sure, a few pieces of advice -- mostly related to the marketplace for fiction -- have since become, oh, just slightly dated, but most of the wisdom still applies, not just for fiction writers but for all writers. These columns were, indeed, my bible in the early stages of my writing life. I owe a lot to Block, and I'm glad to have the chance to reflect back on how his writing influenced not just my own wordsmithing but also my life.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Sweet

    First of all, let me say that Block's books on writing are top-notch, and the columns here on the craft of writing are very good. The only knock on this is the tips on the business of writing are, of course, out of date. Nor surprise, considering these columns date from the early 1980s. That said, definitely worth reading for anyone looking for tips on plotting, character development, etc. Just expect to skip a few columns.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    Useful practical advice for writers. Much of it is geared toward people who are trying to get paid for fiction, and that is premised on a publishing industry model from several decades ago--but it's nevertheless important to understand the history of how writers and publishers think about working together. The information about the craft of writing is still relevant and illuminating.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    This is a wonderfully encouraging book about the writing process. While I have never read any of Block's fiction, this is a collection of his Writer's Digest columns. They are filled with practical advice and encouragement. I particularly liked his irreverent tone and honesty. Highly recommended for aspiring writers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael Wallace

    Interesting book picked up at a bargain price for the Kindle. It is a collection of essays from Writer's Digest 25+ years ago, so some of the market-related advice is necessarily dated. The other stuff was interesting, though, and I enjoyed Block's voice.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Most abrupt ending ever. I listen to audiobooks mostly and don't like to know how far into a book I am. Usually (always), I can tell when one's winding down. This time, I had to check to make sure the audible file wasn't corrupted somehow.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Grant

    I've read Block's three previous books in this series, drawn from articles he wrote during 10 years as a Writer's Digest columnist. Definite must-reads for fiction writers or anyone aspiring to be a fiction writer. This treasure is next on my list!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jaq Greenspon

    Reading this piecemeal - a chapter at a time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    A lot of outdated advice in this, but still some useful bits and pieces.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Oleg Hasanov

    An invaluable source of helpful advice for fiction writers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    L.A. Jacob

    JUNK. Reading old, dated articles. Not worth the money.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Byron

    Some of these reprinted columns contain excellent advice.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Rosen

    A good book, but I think a lot of these articles were reprinted in altered form in Writing the Novel. If you have that one, this is the least required of Block's non-fiction works.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Craig Childs

    Great collection of funny, insightful essays about the life of a writer. A must for Lawrence Block fans.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jose Batista

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan Jackson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura McClellan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Bellor

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  27. 5 out of 5

    Edward Hudson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Lum

  29. 4 out of 5

    Afa

  30. 4 out of 5

    Word Ninja

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