What People Say About
James N. Frey Books and Workshops

Dear Mr. Frey,
Just a quick note to tell you how much your books have benefited me. Several years ago I ran across a copy of How to Write a Damn Good Novel. Subsequently I found How to Write a Damn Good Mystery. I read and highlighted the entire book, then took notes on what I'd highlighted. Although I ended up self-publishing my story - Consummate Betrayal, through much hard work, the story now has readers around the country, as well as Canada and caught the interest of a Hollywood actor/producer who is now a business partner and collaborator on the sequel and movie rights. Just ordered How to Write a Damn Good Thriller & can't wait to dig into it while working on the sequel. Many writing books I've tried to read describe techniques that work for that particular person. Your books however, have made a remarkable difference for me. They have educated me and improved my writing immensely. So - THANK YOU, very much!
Mary Yungeberg www.maryyungeberg.com

I just wanted to say thanks. When I decided to write a murder mystery (and a damn good one. Why write any other?), I floundered somewhat on how. Your book "How to Write a Damn Good Mystery" was one of ten or twelve books I picked up on writing within a couple of weeks. They're all on my shelf, I got something from most of them, but yours was hands-down the most valuable source. Your "nuts and bolts" here's-how-it's-put-together no-nonsense approach made it the only book of the collection I would call indispensible.

Anyway, the book, "Blood Trace," is now completed. It's making the first round of agents and has already been rejected once, so is well on its way. In the meantime, I"m working on a second Damn Good Mystery (idle hands being the Devil's workshop, and all that) and yes, broke your your book and plan to re-read it in the morning.

J. Garrett Brown

THE GREATEST CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS ON PLANET EARTH. I have attended many workshops during my apprenticeship to writing. Almost all were helpful and gave me much needed information, but none compared to the electricity of learning as much as Jim Frey's teaching. He didn't waste a moment. His information was clear and logical. The "Aha!" light bulb finally clicked on in my brain.
Eileen Thiel, '02

Just wanted to say thanks for your help!

When I was starting out as a writer a few years ago I bought a copy of your book 'How to write a damn good novel" and found it both funny (particularly 'The Zen of Novel Writing' - brilliant) and incredibly helpful.

I went on to finish my first book The Dreamwalker's Child and it was subsequently sold at auction to Faber & Faber in the UK. A year later the U.S rights were also sold at auction to Bloomsbury and with the money I was able to give up my job as a headteacher and write full time.

I now have a five book deal with Faber and Faber and have also written two books for Walker. The sequel, The Web of Fire, is already out in the UK and will be published by Bloomsbury U.S. in the spring. Life is good!

Nowadays, if anyone asks me for advice, I always tell them the same thing: they can do no better than get themselves a copy of your book!

Thanks again James and all best wishes

Steve Voake, author of The Dreamwalker's Child and The Web of Fire

It's not just that Jim Frey knows how to write a damn good novel, he knows how to teach you to write a damn good novel.
Stephen Blake Mettee, Publisher, Quill Driver Books. Author of The Fast-Track Course on How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal. Chair, William Saroyan Writer's Conference

Dear Mr. Frey,

Oh! Your book, How to Write a D--- Good Novel is sensational! Whenever I begin reading it, I can hardly put it down! After the first day of reading it, I cried! After the second day, I was nearly halfway through it! This feat is remarkable for me; with all of the tedious, time-consuming tasks I must perform throughout the day and much of the evening. In your book, you not only provide rich, critical, and intricate information; but you also present it in such a lively and moving manner!

I can hardly wait to finish reading your book, and write a "rave review" on www.bn.com! Moreover, I hope to become a successfully published author, after applying the principles of your book!

Jeanne Julien

I've been to them all the famous west coast conferences, including Squaw Valley, Maui, and Santa Barabara. They were all fun, interesting, and exciting. But I learned more craft in Jim Frey's week long Intensive than in all the others put together.
Joan Simpson, '01

I took a short workshop from Jim Frey several years ago. His teachings continue to help me as I go into newer writing projects. Prior to that I'd read his how-to books on writing and found them to be gems.
Bharti Kirchner, author of seven books including Darjeeling (St. Martin's Press, 2002)

I learned a lot at this intensive, Jim was great, entertaining, and a super teacher, but Barbara really showed me what I was doing stupid and how to fix it.
Margi Vanders, '99

dear mr. frey
I am a young swiss writer - I wrote three novels (in german language) - and I want to say thank you for your book (how to write a damn good novel, I read it in german): it's because of your great knowledge that I can live from fiction writing (very rare in switzerland).
thank you thank you thank you so much!
christoph simon

Writing is all about honesty, and Jim is not afraid of the truth. He gives you honesty about your plot, your theme and your wordsmithing in a way that will benefit your writing for years. If, as Jack Nicholson says, "you can't handle the truth," he will show you how and you will be a better writer for it."
Cody Wasner, '90

I have benefited from many workshops, including Breadloaf and Squaw Valley Community of Writers, but the James N. Frey one is special, it is a step by step method on improving your craft: it's intense, exciting, and very likely will unveil within you talents you may never have known existed.
Jo Stevenson, '97, author of No Case to Answer, Peas for Christmas, and In The Wake.

Frey's Intensive kicks ass.
Al Doolan Denning, '95

If you don't know how to make a plot when you get there, you sure as hell will know when you leave.
Lonni Johnson, '98

I have an MFA in Creative Writing and Communications from the University of Colorado and thought I knew everything. Jim and Barbara taught me more craft in a week than I learned in two years in graduate school. I now feel I'm in control not only of my work, but of my destiny.
Ron Goode, '98

I'd heard that the intensive was sort of like Marine boot camp for writers, but don't believe it, the Marines have it easy.
Walter Beck, '99

He can come at you like a character out of Dostoevsky, but he really knows the craft and is the only teacher I've ever found who offers students a writer's tool kit, which is invaluable. He also has a boundless love of writing, which is a blessing.
Waimea Williams '92

When I attended my first Jim Frey workshop, I believed I knew how to write a novel. After all, I had graduated with honors from the University of Arizona's creative writing program and my local critique group was filled with accolades for my work. I learned very quickly (but not without some of that suffering Jim recommends in his ten rules for writing) that formal education has little value when it teaches you to weave words but not how to tell a compelling story. Jim Frey doesn't waste any valuable workshop time with compliments on word weaving or nurturing egos. In fact, he suggested I toss the novel I'd been working on for over a year. I left discouraged, swearing I'd never come back. But, after a week or so, that discouragement turned into determination. I deleted the novel from my hard drive and started over, using the techniques I'd learned. A year later that novel won first place in a national contest. I have since attended nearly a dozen Frey workshops at the Oregon Writers Colony. I've joined an online critique group with other Frey students and believe I have finally learned how to tell a story that won't put a reader to sleep.
Susan Clayton Goldner, '94

When I now look at the writing I took to my first Frey workshop four years ago, I'm amazed Jim didn't give me a bus ticket home. Instead, he pushed me just as far as my ego and intellect could tolerate. Each time I go back, I think, "This time I'm getting everything right." And each time he points out the things I didn't even know I didn't know.
Nancy Boutin, '02

Before falling asleep each night at the workshop I thought, I have never had more fun in my life! My pages improved as Jim and Barbara took me one level further with each rewrite. I appreciated this so very much.
Carol Frishmann, '02
[Copyright ©James N. Frey; 1990, 2019]