THE FIRST FIVE PAGES, by Noah Lukeman
This title written by a literary agent and author touches on mechanics issues and doles out practical advice. His examples are specific. When addressing the ever-problematic show-not-tell problem, he gives a concrete example:
“Instead of saying ‘It was very dark outside,’ the writer could say ‘The guards needed flashlights to patrol the corridors.’”
THE FOREST FOR THE TREES, by Betsy Lerner
This excellent reference, written from a book editor’s point of view, sheds light on the psyche of a writer and includes her own experience.
“As far as I can tell, people write for exactly two reasons”: (1) They are compelled to, and (2) they want to be loved.”
BIRD BY BIRD, by Anne Lamott
This famous writer and writing teacher recants her journey and provides sage advice.
“So much of writing is about sitting down and doing it every day, and so much of it is about getting into the custom of taking in everything that comes along, seeing it all as grist for the mill.”
ON BECOMING A NOVELIST, by John Gardner
Written in 1983, this book is still relevant. He addresses topics such what makes a good writing workshop and includes his experiences as a novelist and professor. Here he discusses his creative process:
“All I myself know for sure, when I come out of one of those trance moments, is that I seem to have been taken over by some muse.”
STORY, by Robert McKee
Although this is primarily a book about screenwriting, the fundamentals apply to the book author. McKee elaborates on structure such as the “inciting incident,” and in the following quote about shaping your protagonist:
“(The protagonist) must make a decision to take one action or another in a last effort to achieve his Object of Desire.”
Writers, if you want to improve by leaps and bounds, check out these five books!
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About the Author:
Susan Paulson Clark has been writing for fifteen years. She's an avid reader of women's fiction, mysteries, and non-fiction titles. Susan enjoys painting (acrylic and oil) and spending time with her husband. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with degrees in English and Education -- and she's an avid believer in writers' critique groups!
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