Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century's Biggest Bestsellers
By James W. Hall
(Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812970951, 294pp.)
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
List Price: $16.00*
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DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF WHAT MAKES A MEGA-BESTSELLER IN THIS ENTERTAINING, REVELATORY GUIDE
What do Michael Corleone, Jack Ryan, and Scout Finch have in common? Creative writing professor and thriller writer James W. Hall knows. Now, in this entertaining, revelatory book, he reveals how bestsellers work, using twelve twentieth-century blockbusters as case studies--including "The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, "and "Jaws." From tempting glimpses inside secret societies, such as submariners in "The Hunt for Red October, "and""Opus Dei in "The Da Vinci Code, " to vivid representations of the American Dream and its opposite--the American Nightmare--in novels like "The Firm "and" The Dead Zone, " Hall identifies the common features of mega-bestsellers. Including fascinating and little-known facts about some of the most beloved books of the last century, "Hit Lit "is a must-read for fiction lovers and aspiring writers alike, and makes us think anew about why we love the books we love.
For the last 29 years, he has taught literature and creative writing at Florida International University, where his students have included Dennis Lehane, Barbara Parker, and Vicki Hendricks. After publishing four books of poetry-three with the Carnegie-Mellon University Press-and several works of short fiction in such magazines as the Georgia Review and Kenyon Review, Hall began writing crime novels in 1986 with "Under Cover of Daylight,"
His published thrillers include "Under Cover of Daylight" (1987), "Tropical Freeze" (1990), "Bones of Coral" (1992), "Hard Aground" (1993), "Mean High Tide" (1994), "Gone Wild" (1995), "Buzz Cut" (1996), "Red Sky at Night" (1997), "Body Language" (1998), and" Rough Draft" (2000).
He lives on the edge of Blackwater Sound in Key Largo, Florida, with his wife, Evelyn, and his dogs, Travis and Sofie.
“Passionately and thoroughly entertaining....Hall examines 12 of the most successful novels of the 20th century and ‘reverse-engineer[s]’ them, mining their separate defining qualities and their comparative appeal to readers…Referential and cleverly elucidated, the book raises many good points about the precise methodology of bestselling novels.”
“Fascinating. Every would-be writer, and every knowledgeable reader, should read this book. It brings a valid understanding to publishing phenomena that seemingly were unexplainable. With this book, you see the forest and the trees.”
“I learned more about fashioning a bestseller from Hit Lit than from any other book, or any experience, I’ve encountered in my thirty-five years as an editor and publisher. Even established and successful authors need this guide.”