179 Ways to Save a Novel

Matters of vital concern to fiction writers.
Publish date:

179 Ways to Save a Novel
by Peter Selgin
Writer's Digest Books, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-58297-607-5
$16.99, paperback, 288 pages

writing a novel | novel writing mistakes

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Read an excerpt
In this excerpt from 179 Ways to Save a Novel, author Peter Selgin discusses ways to defeat the writer's sworn enemy: the cliche.

Read an interview with the author

Peter Selgin discusses writing advice, the publishing industry, agents and more in this exclusive Q&A.

About the Book

Looking for ways to fix your novel?

Let this book be your guide with 179 meditations collated and condensed from the advice of over a thousand critiques from award-winning author Peter Selgin’s experience as an editor and a teacher. You’ll discover helpful ideas for troubleshooting your novel through insights gleaned from a life of reading, writing and loving literature.

The ideas in this book are grouped under six headings: Substance; Structure; Style; Symbol, Myth & Metaphor; Soul; and Other Matters. Try dipping into the book at random when in need of nonspecific advice, inspiration, or criticism. Or read the book straight through for a deeper examination of your writing life. However you encounter them, these meditations are guaranteed to challenge, inspire, provoke—and occasionally to tickle or annoy. But, most of all, they’ll awaken a deeper awareness of the fiction writer’s many challenges and thorny choices.

About the Author
Peter Selgin is the author of the Flannery O’Connor Award-winning story collection Drowning Lessons; Life Goes to the Movies, a novel; and By Cunning & Craft: Sound Advice and Practical Wisdom for Fiction Writers.

Praise for 179 Ways to Save a Novel

“Peter Selgin’s 179 Ways to Save a Novel is brimming with sage and inspiring advice. Selgin writes about the craft of the novel with terrific lucidity, insight, and wit and his latest is a book that all aspiring novelists should have on their shelves.”

—Laura van den Berg, author of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us

"Randall Jarrell said that a novel is a prose narrative of some length that has something wrong with it. What Peter Selgin knows—and abundantly illustrates—is that we can learn from went wrong, and learning from our mistakes and from the mistakes of others is the premise of his wise and witty meditation on writing, a book that is as practical as it is provocative. What Peter Selgin talks about when he talks about writing is what every aspiring novelist needs to hear. He offers generous insights, frank talk, and ample encouragement. 179 Ways to Save a Novel is all the inspiration and guidance you’ll need to get your novel started, and more importantly, to get it finished."

—John Dufresne, author of The Lie That Tells the Truth


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