1. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    Awesome books on writing.

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by fwc577, Aug 13, 2012.

    I am always looking for new books on writing. I have found some incredibly helpful books along the way. Please post some books you've felt were amazing and helpful..... Particularly lesser known books. I have stuff like Stephen King's On Writing and I just wasn't inspired by the book at all.

    Here are the recent ones I've read that I loved:

    The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers - by Christopher Vogler
    --This book is a re-interpretation of Joseph Campbell's Mask of a Thousand Faces. It is much easier to understand and looks at it from the perspective of current pop culture movies to show examples.

    The Emotion Thesaurus - by Angela Acherman
    --I love this book. They cover like 75 different emotions. For each one they give a definition, physical signals/body language, internal sensations, mental responses, cues for acute and long term emotion, cues for suppressed emotion, and example of other emotions that the current emotion may escalate to. I have about 75 emotions that I will probably never use the actual word again choosing instead to describe. Sometimes I just can't think of a way to describe someone other than "Pissed off" or "Curious" and the book jogs my memory and provides extra sensory for me to add.

    How to Write description of eyes, faces, hair, and skin - by Val Kovalin
    --She writes in a specific genre of romance and does a great job giving a few extra ideas on how to describe someone

    How to Write sexy description and sex scenes - by Val Kovalin
    --Again, romance writer and she provides some extensive word lists seperated by interesting catagories. If I find myself using the same language on a read through I will open this book and look for a replacement word.
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like:
    Writing Fiction by the Gotham Writers Workshop
    Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King
    Creating the Story by Wheeler and Rule
    On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner
     
  3. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    "How Fiction Works" by James Woods.

    "Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting" by Robert McKee
    (Don't let the "screenwriting" bit throw you...this is completely applicable to novels.)
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    "The Art of Fiction" by John Gardner
    "On Becoming a Novelist" by John Gardner

    I can't recommend the Paris Review writer interviews highly enough. Many of them are collected in book form.

    "Journal of a Novel" by John Steinbeck. This is basically a diary kept by Steinbeck while he was writing one of his greatest novels, "East of Eden." It's an extremely valuable look at the creative process of one of America's most important twentieth-century writers.
     
  5. Luna13
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    Luna13 Active Member

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    "The Pocket Muse" by Monica Wood. I absolutely love this book.
     
  6. auntiebetty
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    auntiebetty Active Member

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    I do not subscribe to Writer's Digest, but I go to the Library and sit with the mag and my 3-ring notebook. Sometimes I write down a whole article. By month's end, I have really studied the issue and I'm ready for the next month's. The articles are short and to the point. Great "How To" tips, and often lists of agents looking for new authors, contests, etc.
     
  7. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    I'm going to have to check Writer's Digest out at my local library and see if they have it.

    Yeah, read this one. It was pretty decent had some good tips.



    I posted about the Emotion Thesaurus. Well it's been around for a while so I decided to check the authors blog to see if they have anything else or updates to the book etc. They have a MASSIVE section similar to the Emotion Thesaurus devoted to... Settings, Textures, Colors, Shapes, Weather and Earthly Phenomena, and Character Traits and Symbolism. I'm working on copying the content from their website to print it out. I like to keep IE closed when I'm writing.
     
  8. Ambition101
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    Ambition101 Member

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    Just ordered the Emotion Thesaurus on Amazon together with Wired for Story. I'm sure they'll come in handy.
     
  9. TheFictionalMan
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    Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.
     
  10. Stupid-Face
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    Stupid-Face Member

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    I got "How Fiction Works" from my local library, it's a really interesing read.
    I would recommend the 8th edition of "Creative Writing: How to unlock you imagination and develope your writing skills" by Adele Ramet.
     
  11. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    The reason why On Writing by Stephan King wasn't inspiring is because it's more of an autobiography than an actual book on writing.

    The Write Great Fiction series is pretty good. There's 5 books in the series.

    Also if you go for the more obscure books on writing they will have been published by less known authors. You want books that were written by the most skilled writers. Most the books I have cross reference each other by recommending other titles, of which I have all da best, hehe!
     
  12. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    But, just because a person knows how to tell a great and compelling story doesn't mean they can be successful on passing their knowledge on. I mentioned "On Writing" and I know someone else mentioned it about it being more autobiographical yet whenever I see someone mentioning a book about writing they seem to always mention that book. It makes me wonder how many people have actually read it or just think, "Hey, a book writing by Stephen King called On Writing must be a good book, I'll recommend it!"

    Meanwhile a book like the emotion thesaurus is by two relatively unknown authors but it is comprehensive and amazing reference to have on hand while writing. A lot of times we don't aways notice body language but our MC might.

    Another book I got from my local library that I thought was great (late charge taking it back) was How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat.
     
  13. Ambition101
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    Ambition101 Member

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    I bought the emotion thesaurus with a book called Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. I'm only a quarter of the way into it but it really puts things into perspective for storytellers. It bases its instructions on scientific research in Neuroscience about what humans look out for during the reading process.
     
  14. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I need something that's more of a writing 101. I've found the book "Write to Publish: Essentials for the Modern Fiction & Memoir Market" by Christopher Klim. The "preview" only includes the table of contents, but the topics covered look absolutely bang on what I feel I need. Has anyone seen this book?

    Edit: I went ahead and bought that book. So far it seems to have a small amount of good advice, given in an informal style. I haven't finished it yet, but while what is said is sensible, I'm not sure it's got enough advice and detail to be good value for money.

    The book "self-editing for fiction writers" also looks interesting. When I have a few more minutes I'll go and see what I can find about it.
     
  15. D-Doc
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    D-Doc Active Member

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    I've read The Elements of Style and On Writing. Both are tremendously helpful. Indeed the first half of On Writing is an autobiography, but it's still well worth the read.

    Another book I have is On Writing Well by William Zinsser. I haven't read it yet, and although it deals with nonfiction writing, I think it will be very helpful as well.
     
  16. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've purchased this book. Unfortunately there's no Kindle edition so I will have to wait for it to arrive through the post.
     
  17. ChatNoir
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    ChatNoir New Member

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    Books on Writing

    As a community of writers I guess that some of you must have read some books about this art. I am soon going to start a course on Creative Writing and I have been given some reference books to check:

    The Art of Fiction by David Lodge.
    The Creative Writing Handbook by John Singleton, M. Luckhurst & M. Singleton.
    The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets by Ted Kooser.
    The Poetry Handbook: A Guide to Reading Poetry for Pleasure and Practical Criticism by John Lennard.
    Writing Poems by Peter Sansom.

    However, I would appreciate your comments/suggestions! What is the book/workbook/author that has helped you the most (you can include anything that has helped you with your writing, grammar books, how to create a character, how to write a great plot...)? Which ones wouldn't you recommend even to your worst enemy?

    Thanks :)
     
  18. Legear
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    Legear New Member

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    I've just started reading On Writing by Stephen King and it's pretty interesting so far, I'm not very far into it though.

    But I mean it' Stephen King, it's not going to be bad is it?
     
  19. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am enjoying reading this book. However, it seems that I can't just read the whole thing and apply all the techniques immediately. I'm working through it slowly, and I'm incorporating its lessons in my writing equally slowly.
     
  20. Sacrificed13
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    Sacrificed13 New Member

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    One book that I found particularly useful was "Beginnings, Middles, and Ends" by Nancy Kress.
     
  21. Dylan_Anderson
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    Dylan_Anderson New Member

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    I have to disagree with you on Stephen King's 'On Writing' I have it and I love it. Also love 'The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers' by Christopher Vogler.

    The book I always praise and recommend is 'No plot? No Problem' by Chris Baty.
    It's a guid to writing 50k words in 30 days. Not something I have any interest in doing but its a great book written with a true love of the craft and always gets me excited about writing an d motivated whenever I read it (it also reminds me that writing should be fun above all else and not to take it too seriously). An absolute must read!
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you want to become a better writer, read good writing.

    The problem with the how-to books is that you can't tell the good advice from the bad unless you already know what works for you.
     
  23. tupbup
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    I must admit I have a minor addiction to how-to books. I feel I spend more time reading about how to write than I do actually writing some days. I get excited about starting a writing project whenever I start to read a how-to book but I've yet to see any of them through to the end. In fact, I don't think I've done any proper writing on them yet. But I have lots of character sheets and snowflake plots to guide me once I start!

    I think the key to being a better writer is probably writing more, more often, and show to it to others and stop hiding it away on my computer / desk drawer. Easier said than done ... I've taken to googling for writing advice rather than buying more books to save my bank balance!
     
  24. KimFrei
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    KimFrei New Member

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    I have not read a single one of these... Thank you for pointing them out! I have beeded more practical books! I always wind up with books of writing prompts or "writing inspiration"... I have needed something a bit... more. Thanks!
     
  25. Fairydust
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    I've just finished the Breakout Novel by Donald Mass. Highly recommend. You need to have already written quite a bit of stuff beforehand so you can look over your writing and apply the changes he recommends
     

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