How Not To Write A Novel
is an indispensible gem for aspiring writers. Instead of telling you what to write and how to write it, this book takes you through a variety of mistakes that will lead to editors promptly sending your manuscript to the rejection pile. Not only is it a useful reference point, it's also humorous and witty.
One of my favourite lines is: 'Giving a reader a sex scene that is only half right is like giving her half of a kitten. It is not half as cute as a whole kitten; it is a bloody, godawful mess.'
As I was reading the book, I noticed a couple of things that I have done whilst writing (though perhaps not to an extreme!) and it's been useful as a checklist of things I should go back and rework or double check.
The last chapter on query letters to publishers/agents is particularly helpful.
Even if you only write for fun, this book is well worth a read. :)