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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Writing References

Here's a listing of books I've read that I found helpful or not so helpful in my pursuit of my writing career. A majority of these books are not romance writing specific, but include some genre specific information. What books have you found useful?

Planning
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass – Still working on reading through this one. It seems to be a good inspirational guide. Meaning that it talks about the high level things that make a good novel. It’s not tedious to read which is always a plus.

The Writer’s Journey (2nd Ed.) Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler – Recommended if you are having difficulty with plotting. This goes over a very specific plot patterned off the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell. I used this to help formulate my first plot. This might be one of those you borrow from the library to see if it’s something you’d think you’d use.

The Nitty Gritty
Plot and Structure (Write Great Fiction Series) by James Scott Bell – Highly recommended. As I read through this, I got plenty of ideas on the plot I was working on. It does have exercises, which I haven’t gone through. I never was one for homework. Worthy of a second read through.

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint (Write Great Fiction Series) by Nancy Kress – Highly recommended. This is another one that brought on a lot of ideas. Again more exercises at the end of each chapter. The Write Great Fiction Series provides the building blocks for writing a novel. This was a quick interesting read.

Dialogue (Write Great Fiction Series) by Gloria Kempton – As part of the set, highly recommended. I can’t honestly remember if I finished this one through to the end. I don’t have a lot of difficulty with dialogue but this does have a lot of good tips and things to watch for. I think this series is very good at giving you to basics.

Description & Setting (Write Great Fiction Series) by Ron Rozelle – As part of the set, highly recommended. On its own, it’s a bit tedious. It doesn’t quite reach the level of purple prose, but at times, my mind would drift. It is one of the building blocks of fiction and therefore, essential to a good knowledge of writing.

The Romance Writer’s Handbook – How to Write Romantic Fiction & Get It Published by Rebecca Vinyard – This is a nice book to read when you want to read a little bit at a time. It is a collection of articles on writing, publishing, community. It can be inspirational, but again a lot of what it says can be found elsewhere. It’s a nice pick up and read book. It has a section on writing synopses.

The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book by Jean Kent & Candace Shelton – Highly recommended. This book can be a starting point to your own phrases. The authors collected a ton of examples on everything that needs describing in a romance novel. This is an inspirational novel meaning you aren’t supposed to use their phrases verbatim, but they help you get into the “mood” of writing romance. From expressions to emotions, this book is a fun read when you are stuck.

The Joy of Writing Sex by Elizabeth Benedict – Recommended. Note this book will not teach you how to write a convincing love scene in a romance novel. It is geared toward literary fiction writers. It is interesting and has very good points about sex in novels. It delves into homosexuality, adultery, and solo sex. This was one of those that I picked up and read a bit and then set aside. I did get through the entire book over the course of a month or so. I think it does have something to offer every writer. It goes into the emotion and feelings about sex that every other should know.

Editing
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (second edition) by Renni Browne & Dave King – Recommended. I read this is bursts. One chapter every few nights. I will probably read through this one again. It points out errors that almost every writer does at one time or another. Some are mentioned in other books as well, but they give an in depth analysis of the major editing points. It does not give you a method of going through and editing. It does give you things to look for while editing.

4 comments:

Elle said...

Thanks for posting, Amanda. It looks like you and I have a lot of the same books.

I've always been curious about the Mythic Structure book because the Plot Architect book I have references it a lot. I have the Dialogue book but I don't think I've read it yet. I think that's one I'm going to read when I'm done with my draft. The James Scott Bell Plot book is incredible, too. And I think everyone should have the Self Editing for Fiction Writers book!

Great list!

Elle
http://ellevmurphy.livejournal.com

Kristi said...

I picked up a copy of "Writing Magic" by Gail Carson Levine at the library the other day. She's the author of Ella Enchanted (writes mostly Juvenile books I gather). I haven't finished it yet, though it's not very long. It reads like a class in creative writing, aimed partially at school-agers. Actually very entertaining, with interesting points to think about.

ellevmurphy said...

Kristi, I have that book as well. I agree that it would be wonderful for a very young writer, but I am glad I picked it up!

Kristi said...

I didn't meant to imply that it wasn't worthwhile for an adult to read, but that it is at a level that a high schooler (or even middle schooler) could also understand. Plus the author makes references to school occaisionally (as in, if you're in school, do this later). It's also fun to read :)