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Is Life Like This?

A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months

John Dufresne (Author)


“[Dufresne’s] generous, wise, cajoling, stern, and compassionate voice will get you working right away.”—Brad Watson

“Writing a novel,” says John Dufresne, “is not as easy as you may have thought before you tried. But it’s also not as difficult as you imagined.” Dufresne’s smart, practical, hard-nosed guide is for the person who has always wanted to write a novel but has been daunted by the sometimes chaotic, always challenging writing process. A patient teacher and experienced writer, Dufresne focuses his expertise and good humor on helping aspiring novelists take their first tentative steps. His six-month program variously calls attention to the key elements of good fiction writing and offers exercises that are designed to sharpen writers’ command of novel-length storytelling. After six months of guided writing, the users of this book will finish what might have once seemed impossible—a rich and compelling first draft of a novel.

Is Life Like This? may well be the most important addition to the aspiring writer’s library.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • February 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-06541-1
  • 5.9 × 8.6 in / 314 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverIs Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months


Endorsements & Reviews

“Where the %$#@ was this book when I was writing my first novel? My second? My third? Well, it's here now, and I'm thankful, again, for John Dufresne, who not only teaches us in his brilliant novels and stories, but in these practical guides as well. I'm going to recommend Is Life Like This? to all my students. And friends.” — Tom Franklin, author of Poachers and Hell at the Breach

“Is there any living writer who can talk about the art of writing fiction with greater wit, intelligence, precision and wisdom than John Dufresne? I seriously doubt it. His new book belongs on the shelf alongside John Gardner's The Art of Fiction and E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel. I highly recommend it.” — Steve Yarbrough, author of The End of California

Also by John Dufresne All

  1. Book CoverDeep in the Shade of Paradise: A Novel


  2. Book CoverJohnny Too Bad: Stories


  3. Book CoverThe Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction