Book Review: Telling Lies for Fun & Profit

I hear this book has been around for eons and is a mainstay of writers’ canon. Shrug. Who knew? LOL. Not me. Not until Norwescon this past year when one of the panels referenced Telling Lies for Fun & Profit by Lawrence Block.

I very much liked this book. It’s broken down into section about the market and craft specific things. I found some of his market information and opinions felt very out of date. But his comments on craft were spot on. I took a ton of e-notes, 7% of the book in fact or so the rights management software informed me. (The book allows 10%.)

One of my fave stories he used to demonstrate the importance of close first person narrative with some story lines. He talks about how in the story you are right there with a band of rebels. Their country has been taken over by a neighboring country. They develop a plan to kill the dictator in charge in the hopes of gaining their freedom. The story is told so close in that as a reader you are rooting for the assassin to kill the dictator. Rooting for the rebels right up til the moment when the assassin kills the dictator and you see it’s Abraham Lincoln he’s killed to your cheers.  That story line would never have flown told from a distant omniscient third person POV.

Maybe that’s what makes this book so much fun and informative, the great stories Block tells to demonstrate his points. The chapters are short and the reading easy.

℘℘℘℘ – Four Pages. I have to be honest, I’d never heard of this guy or read any of his fiction works, but if he’s as funny in fiction as he was in non fiction…I’ll definitely check him out.


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