September 03, 2014, 07:58:35 AM

Author Topic: Books on writing  (Read 1019 times)

Fallen One

Books on writing
« on: December 10, 2012, 04:45:35 PM »
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  •  What books have you read about the writing craft, that you've found more useful? In my case, I've read quite a few, but the most useful were Stephen King's "On Writing", with its immortal advice: "In order to be a writer you should read, read, read and write, write, write (...) Write every day, even if you feel you are only moving handfuls of sh*t from one place to another."

     The other is Philip Athans' ┬ĚThe guide to writing fantasy and science fiction", for its methodical approach on the making of a fantasy novel.


    Current work: translation of my novel "Return of the Reaper" from spanish to english. You can check my progress at http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/work-to-be-critiqued/fantasy-from-south-america-perhaps-not-suited-for-minors-(quite-violent)/

     Feel free to comment!

    Francis Knight

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 07:44:32 PM »
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  • The absolutely most useful for me has been Self Editing for Fiction Writers (King and Browne) - fantastic for the nuts and bolts of writing.

    The First Five Pages (Lukeman) is good too, named for the fact that most agents etc can tell within five pages if they are likely to buy a work, and how to make sure the one they buy is yours :) There's some overlap with the above, but it's still very useful.

    Also, the 3 AM Epiphany (Kiteley) is great for more unusual writing exercises - really opened my eyes to possibilities.
    My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


    The Pain Mage trilogy
    coming soon from Orbit!

    Hearthweru

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 09:40:21 PM »
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  • Another vote for Self Editing for Fiction Writers (King and Browne), and On Writing by King. I also found Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing to be great for inspiration, Writing Popular Fiction by Dean Koontz is good too. Although I think both are out of print and hard to come by. Between the Lines by Jessica Morrell is great, as is The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot by Charles Baxter. How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey has a daft name but one of the best explanations of Premise/Theme for begginners, and Dwight Swain's Techniques for the Selling Writer has great info on writing scenes and sequals. Finally, I got a lot out of Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.

    Wooly_FY71

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 11:41:24 AM »
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  • I love Mark Treddinnick's The Little Red Writing Book - my high school english teacher gave it to me as a graduation gift and it's been handy ever since. Then again I also totally dig On Writing by Stephen King - in fact, I probably use it more than the latter mentioned book. Then there are resource books like the Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, and Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy by Michael Moorcock.

    Also, I know these aren't books, but the Writing Excuses podcast is amazeballs, as well as the videos of Sanderson's lectures at Brigham Young University on writteaboutdragons.com. A great site!
    32,000 words into my novel. Goal is 120,000!

    jefGoelz

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #4 on: December 13, 2012, 01:35:07 AM »
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  • well...peer pressure has made me buy "Self editing..."  Has anyone read Orson Scott Card's book on writing?

    Hearthweru

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #5 on: December 13, 2012, 01:38:58 AM »
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  • well...peer pressure has made me buy "Self editing..."  Has anyone read Orson Scott Card's book on writing?

    Yeah, I've read Characters & View point which is pretty good, and his How to write sci-fi and fantasy which was okay. Been awhile though might have to look at them both again.

    Jian

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #6 on: December 13, 2012, 08:06:36 AM »
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  • Thirded/Fourthed On Writing by King. Pretty great. It's due a reread, I think.
    Oh, I have a blog. http://dullboredom.wordpress.com/

    Check it out, if you've got the time. Much appreciated.

    Writer. Read my free, serialized story Radio Silence and vote to keep it free and serialized!

    Dale Tallo

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #7 on: December 15, 2012, 01:22:30 PM »
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  • Sol Stein's On Writing and How to Grow a Successful Novel. I've read a lot of books on novel developing that felt like fluff, but his stuff had me so engaged, opening my eyes to a lot of cutting edge material, that it felt like I was reading a novel itself.
    THE ROOT OF WRITER'S BLOCK The guide to writing like Brandon Sanderson.

    jefGoelz

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #8 on: December 16, 2012, 05:28:36 AM »
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  • I finished reading the "self editing" book.  Not a lot new, but it was pretty good, and a very fast read.  I didn't do the exercises.  I did check to see if I did a couple of their pet peeves, and I seldom do them.

    Dale Tallo

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #9 on: December 18, 2012, 03:59:11 AM »
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  • I'll confess that I've had On Writing from Stephen King for years but never got past like thirty pages because I was expecting concrete advice about writing; instead I got his life story. Reading it a second time I'm a lot more engaged because I can really see what formed him as a writer, and now I realize that his life stories are sort of like moral literature, except rather than teaching you about life it's teaching you about writing.

    What I wanted to mention here was the importance of having your own place with a strong vibe. The paragraph before that he was babbling on about telepathy, where I thought he was crazy at that point, but when I got past the satire (or is it?) the advice resonated with me hard. I posted a topic earlier about weather affecting your writing, but I think it's the environment that I've mainly tried writing in that has been affecting me. I live in a small house with a family of 6, so the only place for me to write peacefully is in my room. Although my room is also used for working out, and uhhh, other things. I've been able to work in these conditions before, but I think I was going off on pure inspiration that superseded this environment.

    Just thought I'd share.
    THE ROOT OF WRITER'S BLOCK The guide to writing like Brandon Sanderson.

    Kupofried

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #10 on: December 18, 2012, 06:57:30 PM »
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  • On Writing, by Stephen King; Characters & Viewpoint, Orson Scott Card; The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, Writer's Digest (contributing authors); How to Write SF & F, Orson Scott Card; Self-Editing, Browne & King; Comedy Writing Secrets, Mel Helitzer & Mark Shatz

    On Writing, by Stephen King
    I read this one just to see his experience with the writing and publishing scene. Though, things have changed since his early years. I think the thing I picked up most was his rule about using "he said."

    Characters & Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card
    This was worth the read. I learned about the different viewpoints, why they're affective in their ways, and how different genres can use them better than others. Since I write humor, I spent much time studying the third-person and omniscient views, for writing novels; for work without dialogue, I'd go with first-person.

    How to Write SF & F, by Orson Scott Card
    This was a helpful book for discerning the difference between SF & F, how to plan them, describing worlds, systems and laws (physics, if necessary). He also addresses the difficulty in balancing exposition with the need to present a world like or unlike ours and keeping the pace of the tale.

    The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, Writer's Digest Books (various authors)
    This one as helpful, more so for tips, and not as in-depth as others. It touches on different genres, writing styles, and author experiences.

    Self-Editing For Fiction Writers, by Browne & King
    A helpful book for anyone who wants to attempt editing their work. Editing can be daunting, and I've overdone it. I've learned from this work the most important thing is consistency in storyline (things make sense altogether), and reading comprehension. If someone can't understand what is going on because of silly mistakes (misplaced commas, excessively long sentences, too many adjectives), they'll get lost, confused, and likely give up.

    Comedy Writing Secrets, Mel Helitzer and Mark Shatz
    This is my favorite book on content and format specific writing. I've learned quite a bit from this book about setting up surprise and structure for humor writing. It really is an art of its own. There are other books that cover humor writing, but this is the only one I've read so far. It covers how to set up jokes. What I've realized, though, is it is difficult to write humor fiction that is witty and quick, with all the words needed to describe a scene; like someone telling a long joke and you're thinking, "Ugh, come on, just get to the point." Can lose it quick.

    I've read other books, about writing for comic strips, essays, and some college-required material. But these are the ones I have on hand at the moment.
    « Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 06:59:19 PM by Kupofried »

    Dale Tallo

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #11 on: January 10, 2013, 07:01:14 PM »
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  • I've been looking into these two books for a while now.

    Wired For Story by Lisa Cron. You know how there's two ways to approach a craft, one by scientifically understanding how everything works, and then the other by repetition and experience? For me On Writing by Sol Stein is the one that teaches by experience. Wired For Story is the science. I've only read the first 30 pages, since that's how much the preview only allows, but it provides a ton of the same stuff as Sol Stein, except through proving it scientifically.

    The Emotion Thesaurus. I thought this was pretty neat. I don't have the full book but there's a sample book of it I downloaded on the main website. You know how you can sometimes get stumped by describing certain emotions for a character at a given time? This has a large list of descriptions to use for 75 different emotional states.
    THE ROOT OF WRITER'S BLOCK The guide to writing like Brandon Sanderson.

    SunnyE

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 02:22:21 AM »
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  • I've read quite a number of them, plus blogs and articles, but by far the most helpful has been the Write Great Fiction series. I have the books on Plot & Structure; Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint; Dialogue; and Description and Setting. Some are more helpful than others, all written by different authors, but all have their really good points. I also liked How To Write a Damn Good Novel.
    You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.  ~Stephen King

    Blog: www.asunnyviewforyou.blogspot.com

    Winston

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 10:23:57 AM »
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  • Wired For Story by Cron is a good book. Not fully read it yet but what I have read has been really useful.

    Writing Magazine Fiction by Campbell is another great read. Old, out of print, and reasonably rare. Some good tips and ideas in it.

    Techniques of the Selling Writer by Swain. Another vote for this one.

    How to Write a Damn Good Novel by Frey. Another vote for this one.

    The Art of War for Writers by Bell. A lot of short tips that covers ground most other books do not teach.

    The Secrets Newsletter by Stackpole. A lot of interesting topics covered that seem almost random but worth while.

    blendyface

    Re: Books on writing
    « Reply #14 on: February 03, 2013, 03:06:43 PM »
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  •  What books have you read about the writing craft, that you've found more useful? In my case, I've read quite a few, but the most useful were Stephen King's "On Writing", with its immortal advice: "In order to be a writer you should read, read, read and write, write, write (...) Write every day, even if you feel you are only moving handfuls of sh*t from one place to another."

    I've always been intruiged by this sentiment. It's struck me as similar to the whole "no pain no gain"/"you haven't worked hard enough unless you're spewing your left lung" approach to exercise and going to the gym - I suppose some people find the command form reinforcing, but it's left me feeling like it's a punishment one must endure. Which doesn't really seem like...the most stable of motivations. (This may just be an extension of my "issues" with authority  8))

    But it must work for folks I guess - no shade on Stephen King, 'cause he's clearly able to pump 'em out  ::)

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