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!
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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
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
(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!
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
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
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
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