The Craft of Novel Writing by Dianne Doubtfire (Part 2)


In Part 1, we discussed Doubtfire’s views on plot creation and self-discipline. In this short post, we examine the importance of rewriting and how to handle a review without getting terribly depressed.


Rewriting is the most important part of writing the novel and something you shouldn’t shirk. Sometimes you write a story for the sake of writing it and later on you find that a whole lot of it must be deleted. There is nothing worse than a contrived story.

Pruning is all about the evolution of the novel where selection is important and can not be underestimated. Beautiful passages that are irrelevant to the story will have to be axed. The personal views will have to go too as opinions are for facebook and not your magnum opus.

Simplifying when it comes to style is far too simple—style can never be as simple as that and this is a fallacy that many writers are trying to get away with today. Style is a fingerprint and can not be created overnight.

Doubtfire explains that 25% of what has been written can be removed. Writing less is a restraint that the reader needs- there’s no point in underestimating a reader’s intelligence. The best writing very often entails some kind of suspense that the reader will have to participate in.

So an editor is a boon.


Doubtfire says that reviews don’t need to be disputed unless of course there is a real reason to do so. One way of testing the efficacy of reviews is to take any book you thought was good and read the reviews. I chose a book called The Lovely Bones:

I loved the book but there are many negative reviews there. Never forget that very good books get bad reviews as well and that doesn’t take anything away from the book.

An old book


There are glimpses of the ancient in this book but one advice I liked was about checking the contract. You never know when it will stare at you in the face like a trap rather than the opportunity it once was. Since this book was written in a different day and age, some advice can be ignored, but as far as the tips on writing go, this is a useful handbook as it helps you stick with your writing goals.

That is what a book on writing should be about, isn’t it?


  1. Pingback: The Craft of Novel Writing by Dianne Doubtfire – (Part 1) | InstaScribe

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