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Reader reviews

5-starA straight-talking, easy-to-follow guide 'Flogging the Quill: Crafting a Novel that Sells' would have to be one of the best books on writing I have read. A straight-talking, easy-to-follow guide on writing a compelling story--the one that will hook readers from the first word and not let go until the end. Ray Rhamey shows us how to strengthen and improve our writing, illustrating each section with clear examples. For me, it was this that made all the difference. The perfect demonstration of the "show don't tell" directive. 'Flogging the Quill: Crafting a Novel that Sells' would be a valuable addition to any writer's bookshelf. Highly recommended.

5-starRead this one BEFORE starting your novel If you're thinking of writing a novel, put this one in your shopping cart and read it before you start. 'Flogging the Quill' is filled with advice on improving your writing and story telling, but the difference is Ray Rhamey has provided numerous examples showing you what works and what doesn't. A bonus near the end are ten 'workouts.' These are samples of writing for you to review, critique, and edit. 'Flogging the Quill' is that rare how-to book that tells you what to do, shows you how to do it, and then gives homework to develop your writing and revising skills.

5-starA real winner Ray Rhamey has done a fantastic job assembling this book of practical advice for novelists. If you haven't seen his website, do yourself a favor and type flogging the quill (no spaces) dot com into your browser. You'll be glad you did. In his excellent new book, Ray builds upon his expertise at crafting winning first pages and expands his scope to give clear, relevant insights into the craft and trade of writing your whole book. Thanks, Ray!

5-starPractical advice with an entertaining delivery This book brings all of the knowledge shared on Ray's blog, Flogging the Quill, - and much more - into an easy to reference book. With exercises, insights, and plentiful examples, this book will help all the way from writing the first page to editing a final draft. He covers the importance of a compelling first page, as well as editor's nitpicks, and the best use of dialogue tags and description. Not only has Ray's advice helped me become a better writer, but also better equipped to help others in my critique group.

4-starA complete guide to the basic craft of writing This is an excellent overview of all different aspects of the craft of writing-- from words to avoid ("of," "some") to ways to pace dialogue with beats to how to craft a compelling protagonist. The biggest weakness of this guide is also its biggest strength-- while Ray has an impressive resume, he is still at this point a student, editor, and teacher of novel writing rather than a published novelist himself. I recommend this novel especially to new writers who are having trouble with the basic elements of fiction--I've read HOW TO WRITE THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, for example, and I think it is better for experienced novelists looking to be exceptional, while FLOGGING THE QUILL is better for new writers looking to master the technical side of novel writing. Ray is a great teacher who does a clear and comprehensive (as well as entertaining) job of bringing together advice from the best teachers in the biz and adding insights of his own.

The most useful sections to me included a helpful summery of McKee's (STORY) ideas about crafting protagonists, Ray's own epiphany about how we need to craft antagonists with motivations as complex as the protagonists, and the idea of granting characters "ghosts" and seeding future events early in the text.

5-starExcellent Tool for Writers of all levels Ray Rhamey has created a practical, easy to understand guide that teaches the art of writing in a way that benefits all writers, regardless of their experience level. After reading Ray's book and applying his advice to my own work, I had several short stories published. I definitely recommend this book to anyone serious about seeing their work published. I also recommend checking out Ray's interesting website, floggingthequill.com.

5-starVery useful for the serious writer I'm mad at this book. Know why? Because it's one of the best I've read about crafting compelling novels, and it's telling me that I have to revise my own novel yet again. The examples are clear and unusually frequent. For example, you won't read pages of theory before being shown exactly what is meant by creating tension. If you're writing a novel you hope will sell to an agent, then to a publisher, and finally to a great many readers, Rhamey's realistic advice will help you.

5-starFlogging the Quill Excels There are many, many books out there on how to write a novel etc. etc. etc. I am always in the book store browsing through them but somehow they are a mission to read and never quite provoke me into writing, until of course I found a web reference to Ray Rhamey's Flogging the Quill.

Rhamey does not beat around the bush and gets straight to the meat of it. Not only that, he also offers to review your work. Genuinely very readable.

At the end of the day, after years of procrastination, I am actually writing and getting on with my dream project. I have recommended this book to my friends and they have all agreed it is a quick read but full of worthy and real-world advice.

4-starGlad I found the book! As a writer just starting out, the teachings in Ray's book have been helpful in looking at my writing with a critical eye during the writing process, not just at the editing/revision stage. I now notice things that might make a discerning reader cringe, like eyes that defy the rules of physics or that head jumping. I recommend this book to writers interested in improving their own WIPs.

4-starStraight talk for writers For a number of years, independent editor Ray Rhamey has been offering free writing advice at his web site, Flogging The Quill. Now Ray has distilled the wisdom he's gained in many years of writing and editing into one book, Flogging The Quill: Crafting A Novel That Sells. This book has some of the most helpful writing advice I've encountered in quite a while, illustrated by copious--and I mean copious--examples. Ray doesn't pull punches, and his illustrations have real-world wording at times, but it's truly like having an editor on your bookshelf. I definitely recommend it.

5-starExcellent advice on polishing your novel Ray really knows what he's saying and he says it in a straightforward and accessible manner. This is also very readable, which you can't say about many of the books out there on writing. It is filled with concrete examples so you see exactly what Ray is getting at. It also has some excellent exercises at the end. If you have a novel you’re polishing OR if you want to minimize the polishing you have to do when you complete your novel, I do recommend this book.

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4-starEssential Secrets Every Novelist Should Know What do the raging froth of a river, undead felines with a taste for  blood and a rotting corpse in a rusty dumspter have in common? They are  all examples used by Ray Rhamey to illustrate how you can clean up your  writing and polish your novel until it sparkles. Rhamey's teachings on the art of storytelling and his gifted way of  simplifying craft techniques make this book an invaluable tool for any  novelist, regardless of experience level.  If you want a simple explanation of "Show, Don't Tell" that you can  actually apply to your own writing - It's in this book. Looking for  clear, concise demonstrations of how to craft dialogue that injects life into your story? It's in this book. Want to learn the secrets of how  to compel readers forward through your story? It's in this book. 

Ray uses real world examples in this rare glimpse into the mind of a  professional editor. See what he sees, apply what you've learned and  elevate your writing to another level. 

Every novelist, from beginners to old pros, should keep this next to the ol' laptop as they spin their yarns. It's like having a little editor  on your shoulder to guide you through the process and make your work  shine. This book is terrific. For what it's worth Ray, this book has  helped me tremendously. Thank you. Thank you, very much.

5-starGreat Intro Newbie writers will find this a valuable resource. I refer to it often, even as a seasoned professional.

4-starAn Excellent, Down-to-Earth Guide I learned so much from reading this book! After reading just the first couple of chapters, I was ready to go back and revise all the short stories I have written and haven't been able to publish. The best part about this book, however, are the examples. They really drive the author's point home and make the lessons memorable. This is something I will be returning to again and again as I work on any future stories or novels.

5-starInformative and Entertaining Ray Rhamey has been helping aspiring authors for years through his blog Flogging the Quill. Now he has made his knowledge available through this wonderful book. It covers all the basics from storytelling to dialogue, and I found the workout section extremely helpful. He even includes computer tips to improve your chances of selling your novel. What more could you ask for? Highly recommended.

5-star A Flogging Never Felt this Good! Flogging the Quill by Ray Rhamey has a wealth of advice backed up by numerous examples and explanations. Ray doesn't just give you the "rules" of writing, but also gives you an understanding of why you shouldn't break the rules... and even examples of times when it's a good idea to break them.

Ray's book deals with storytelling, description, dialogue, techniques, words to avoid, and workouts that help writers to understand how to critique their work and others. He also delves into how to hook your readers and make them care about your story and its character through building tension, raising story questions, perfecting your narrative voice, writing with clarity, setting the scene, and developing your characters.

Overall, this book is well worth the price of admission and if you do, you'll learn how to whip your stories into shape in no time.