Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Way We Are: Favorite Writing Craft Books


37 comments:

Delia said...

My perennial favorite for reading is Stephen King's On Writing. For working out problems/polishing the WIP, it's Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. The "workbook" part is the important part. It's full of excellent suggestions and exercises to get your problems resolved and add depth of story you never thought of before.

Jaime Morrow said...

I'm currently reading On Writing by Stephen King and finding it both entertaining and very helpful. I started reading Self-Editing For Fiction Writers the other day and it has been VERY useful to me as I try to sort out some of the clunkier parts in my WiP that just aren't working. Now that I've started reading more craft books, I'm kind of hooked :D

Rebecca Belliston said...

I love Self-Editing for Fiction writers, too. Thanks for the list of others. Writing is quite the beast sometimes, isn't it?

mooderino said...

I like David Mamet's books on writing (coillected as A Whore's Profession). Mostly it's about plays and screenplays, but the ideas on dramatic action and story are pretty universal.

mood

Clarissa Draper said...

One of my favourites is How to Write and Sell Your Mystery Novel. It's perfect for my genre.

Z said...

Card has one...and since I can't think of the title right now, I'm just going to say that O.S. Card has one and it's really good for character development.

BECKY said...

What a great post, Peggy! I have two favorites: "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott, and "Old Friend from Far Away" by Natalie Goldberg.

Although I also like "Writing Down the Bones", by Goldberg, the Old Friend one is more for memoir writers.

If I kept going down the line, my next would be Stephen King's "On Writing."

And one more, a wonderful writer friend gave me a book for my birthday that so far is wonderful! I just haven't gotten back to it enough. The title is: "If You Can Talk, You Can Write," by Joel Saltzman.

Valerie Hartman said...

Writing with Clarity and Style by Robert A Harris was assigned in a class entitled (don't laugh, loud anyway) Rhetoric: The Pursuit of Eloquence and taught by the English department head. While I did not appreciate having to learn, apply and name each one of those horrible sounding latin words, I did learn a great deal.

The book features sixteen Style Checks - short sections that highlight prominent craft issues regarding emphasis, balance, rhythm, vividness, etc. The majority of the book describes about sixty rhetorical devices. The professor's point was that if you can name it, you can recognize it when you see it and use it effectively in your own (literary) writing.

It is not a sit down and read book and you will not find the phrase "shitty first draft" (Lamott, Bird by Bird, loved it!), but it was HIGHLY instructive for a wanna be writer like me. If you are looking for exercises and instructions, this is a well organized workbook that delivers exactly what the title promises.

Oh, and with any luck you will NEVER have to take a final on all those words that start with the letter A.

Now that I have run on and on, I will get back to concise. Great post idea!

J. A. Bennett said...

I'm currently reading Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell, really good info in there!

Patti said...

I bought Save the Cat, but haven't picked it up at the book store. Hoping its a good one. I should probably read more of them. It's just so much easier to read novels.

Carrie Butler said...

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers is a staple of my workspace. :D

Connie B. Dowell said...

One of the first craft books I read was The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. It is geared more toward literary fiction, but even though I write genre fiction mostly for a younger audience, I found a lot of useful advice. I'd consider it a classic guide, great for any fiction writer.

Jessie Humphries said...

I'm a loser, but I have only read a couple. I like Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel, along with its accompanying workbook.

Jeff Hargett said...

I've just started Self-Editing For Fiction Writers. Just bought the eBook via Amazon this week after a writing buddy recommended it. Really good so far.

S.P. Bowers said...

I have On Writing on my shelf and am waiting for my trip to dive into it. I've also heard good things about Bird by Bird.

I've read Writing the Breakout Novel and found some really useful info there. I've also read Writing Down the Bones which, if I recall, was more for beginners and how to start writing. I've also read The Lie That Tells a Truth. That one was "meh" it was interesting but not one I would spend money on again.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've bought so many over the years, but I'm yet to read something that says anything meaningful to me. I still hold a belief that writing can't be taught - so I'll either have a 'I do that already' or 'Don't be daft' attitude to writing craft books. I might check out a few of the ones mentioned here, though - you never know! :-)

Ruth Josse said...

This is exciting! Lots of good recos. I'm bookmarking this post!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love your covers. I've got several of them and have been thinking when I ever reach a point where I'm at a stopping point (please tell I'll find it with this project) that I need to do some of this kind of reading.

Richard said...

The one I've read most recently and I think I like the most is "Write Like The Masters" by William Cane. It's not a technical book, but a more general book that is chock full of ideas. You can read more about it on my blog if you're interested.

Iain said...

How to write a blockbuster and get published - Helen Corner and Lee Weatherly. It covers the basics through to editing. It changed my life.
Also, I saw you had Save the Cat in your picture. I know it's about film scripts, but the concept of beats is interesting.

Christa Desir said...

Anne LeMott on Twitter is awesome. Bird by Bird is what got me started. On Writing taught me everything. :)

Gwen said...

Orson Scott Card's books are amazing.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I have read a few - King, Lamott, Dillard, with several others on the to read list. Sadly, this is what I mainly read for non-fiction these days, which is good, but I sometimes think I need to branch out more.

Colin Smith said...

In my humblest of humble opinion, ON WRITING by Stephen King should be on every novelist's desk next to Strunk and White. Hands-down the best book on the craft I have ever read. And I've read a number of good ones.

Kelley said...

Bookmarking this post and getting On Writing from the library ;)

Daisy Carter said...

I see you have the Breakout Novel pictured above. Have you done the accompanying workbook? I loved it. I also read Gotham Writing Workshop's WRITING FICTION at least once a year. It's excellent.

E.D. said...

I have read quite a few but none that I really loved. I better pick up King's though - everyone seems to love it.

Elodie said...

I am also currently reading ON WRITING and I´m LOVING it! :D
I have a few others on my shelf (including, yes, I´m about to blush, some "Writing for dummies...")

Tara Tyler said...

not lately, got a best recommended? and when you host a contest, how bout sharing one of those, wow! i need to build my small collection!

Kimberlee Turley said...

Building Believable Characters is my favorite.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I have and love many of the books pictured above, and I would also add a personal favorite (which might or might not be helpful to you) but I love Nancy Lamb's The Writer's Guide To Crafting Stories For Children.

Coleen Patrick said...

I also love Stephen King's and Anne Lamott's, but I recently read The Plot Whisperer. I really liked how she included info about a writer's personality with the writing tips. :)

M Pax said...

I haven't read any lately, which I need to remedy... but my favorite so far is Scene & Structure by Jack. M. Bickham.

The Golden Eagle said...

I recently read Cosmic Critiques: How and Why 10 Science Fiction Stories Work, though that's a bit genre-specific, obviously. :P Another good one would be Plot by Ansen Dibell. It had some great tips.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I love books on craft. My recent favorite is Second Sight by Cheryl Klein. She is an editor at Scholastic and is, I think, brilliant.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Oh my goodness. These are the most fabulous suggestions ever! You guys really came through for me. Thank you!! Looks like I'll have a great Craft TBR pile for a while!

Laura said...

I got a LOT out of Finding Your Writer's Voice, by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall. Really great exercises that help you strengthen your voice and direct its presence in your writing.