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Writing Fiction by James Essinger – Review

I am thrilled to be bringing you my review today for Writing Fiction by James Essinger – Big thanks to James and Rachel from Rachels Random Resources for providing me with a copy of the book for review and for inviting me to be a part of this tour!


‘Writing Fiction is a little pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd Field for film, Writing Fiction by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’

William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.

It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:

  • Anthony Burgess
  • Joseph Conrad
  • George Eliot
  • Ken Follett
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Dan Harmon
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • David Lodge
  • Norman Mailer
  • John Milton
  • Ben Parker
  • K. Rowling
  • William Shakespeare
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • R.R. Tolkien

The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.

Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (1)


As an aspiring writer myself, I am always keen to get my hands on any form of ‘how to’ book or handy guide about the craft. Writing Fiction by James Essinger has proved to be a very helpful resource and I’ve taken a lot away from it to apply to my own writing.

Split into easy to digest chapters, this guide covers a vast array of writing skills and tips; from developing your story outline and your characters, to examining good uses of dialogue, language and grammar.

Something that came as a surprise to me, is that this book also discusses good vs bad storytelling from several famous movies from years gone by, along with some TV shows. I’ve read my fair share of ‘how to’ writing books, but this is the first one that has included visual media to this extent, which I actually found to be really interesting. It helps us view storytelling from the side of screenplays and how stories can be translated onto the big screen.

I’d definitely recommend this book to any other aspiring authors, and there’s no doubt that I’ll be returning to it in the future to refresh my memory of so many helpful hints and tips!

Purchase Links

Amazon UK
Amazon US

About The Author

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (2)
James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).





Social Media

Facebook – @James.Essinger
Twitter – @JamesEssinger


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