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The Writer's Little Helper: Everything You Need to Know to Write Better and Get Published Paperback – April 20, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James V. Smith Jr. has published more than a dozen novels, including the six-book series Force Recon. His latest novels, the Delta Force series, appear under his pen name John Harriman. Smith is a former combat soldier, helicopter pilot, newspaper writer and editor, national award-winning columnist, and magazine editor. He is also the author of the first and second editions of You Can Write a Novel, published by Writer’s Digest Books.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (April 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599634090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599634098
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James is author of You Can Write a Novel, The Writer's Little Helper, and The Fiction Writer's Brainstormer.

His latest novel, Prison of the Soul, chronicles the trials of hard-nose teacher in his last-chance job inside a supermax classroom for a state's worst and most violent criminal delinquents. Raised in an abusive family himself, he tries and fails at using might and muscle to control his feral students, but succeeds when he opens himself to a most unusual treasure trove of learning.

James is a former combat soldier, helicopter pilot, newspaper writer and editor, national award-winning columnist, and magazine editor.

He has published more than a dozen military action-adventure novels, including the six-book series Force Recon. He wrote the Delta Force series under the pen name John Harriman. Prison of the Soul is the result of his reinvention as a writer.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book has the same material as an earlier edition by the same title. The main difference is in how the book is organized. In the first "Writer's Little Helper," the author was going for a random "start reading anywhere in little bites" kind of structure. Not a bad idea, but it was jarring and disjointed if you were trying to focus on one general topic at a time.

This version of the book is now more user-friendly, so you can still take it in little bites, or in big chunks if you choose.

My favorite topic is probably the 10 Scene Tool, which helped me finish two novels for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Whether you have this one or the earlier incarnation, the material is solid, portable, accessible, and practical, and you can't go wrong either way.
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Format: Paperback
This is a helpful how to book, jam-packed with bite-size nuggets of writerly wisdom that touch on just about everything you need to know, including some stuff barely or never mentioned in thicker, more detailed how to books. I think it is especially helpful if you're just getting started in your career, but even writers of some experience will likely find useful bits within these covers. It's written in a fun, concise style and provides exercises, examples, and checklists aplenty. It includes its own character bio cards and story structure system. The latter uses algorithms, which some may enjoy using, but which I found too complicated--my only real criticism of this book. Overall though, the book provides excellent value for your money and serves as a wonderful overview of the craft of writing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Highly recommend this book. Clear, concise, informative and yet, for novice or experienced writers, it is easy to comprehend and apply. Excellent. Good for all writing actually, basic principals can be applied even to good poetry writing.

Julie George
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book loaded with common sense fundamentals, a couple of suggested tools (Pacing tool etc.), and its a quick enjoyable read. There is no bloat here. Should be a must read for newer writers of commercial fiction. If you know a young hopeful get them this book as a gift, they will love it, and their writing will improve.

Like almost all craft of writing books it touches things that have been gone over a million times, but does it in a quick enjoyable way.

I highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an easy, pleasurable, informative read. It's a little book bursting with tips on everything from sentence comprehension to proposing a blockbuster. I particularly liked the sections on scenes, the first 10,000 words, and the first 1,000 words. I also liked...oh, who am I kidding? I liked it all. The only reason I didn't give it 5*s was that I struggled a bit with the section on pacing. But that chapter might speak to you, so go for it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like this little book. It has just about every tip a fiction writer could want. I like that the tips are usable, and to the point. You won't find any unnecessary fluff in this book. I have already read the book once, and I am going to read it again in case I missed something. After that, this book will stay by my desk for quick reference.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's not as helpful as I thought it would be but has some checklists that will prompt me during edits. I could have written the same checklists from other books but I have them here. I bought the hardcopy of this and can write in more things I want to remember.
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The Writer's Little Helper: Everything You Need to Know to Write Better and Get Published
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