1. ken90004
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    ken90004 Member

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    Books on writing books…what is on your bookshelf?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by ken90004, Dec 1, 2008.

    I am finishing up, “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass. His book is so informational; I have created an outline, and plan to use it as a checklist for writing.

    I have a few other books in queue after this one, but am curious what others are reading to improve their craft.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As many works of fiction by diverse authors as I can manage to read.
     
  3. ken90004
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    ken90004 Member

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    I commute two and half hours a day, so I listen to a lot of audio books, but it is not quite the same as reading a book written by an agent/author, or at least for a novice such as myself. I find it very helpful to know that 90% of novels are rejected because of narrative pace, and then to be given the fix to the problem.

    Taken for granite that he is just one agent, and each have either own quarks, but his 30 years experience has helped me to not to make many obvious mistakes I was already making.

    I wonder if your method is the most common method, as it would seem.
     
  4. Tartuffe James
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    Tartuffe James New Member

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    I've never actually read a book on how to write novels, but I do have a 'forgotten language' dictionary which is full of old archaic words/phrases and their meanings. Quite useful if you want to look boring in front of people you've just met.
     
  5. Hetroclite
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    Hetroclite Member

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    I use to belong to the Writer's Digest Book Club & amassed a library of how-to-write books. I've been going thru Words Fail Me by Patricia O'Connor, to pick up some tips on how to express myself better. I plan to start on The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron, to get some help on developing my plots. Others I've been looking thru, here & there, to help my writing along, are Conflict, Action, & Suspense by William Noble & Beginnings, Middles, & Ends by Nancy Kress. There's not enough room to list all the writers' books I have.
     
  6. JCKey618
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    JCKey618 Member

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    I kind of live by Stephen King's 'On Writing,' but that is because Stephen King is just about my model author. But he basically follows the same rule as Cogito. It's the reason I've forced time to read in the sleepless life of a college student.
     
  7. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You must be his #1 fan, eh JCKEY? :p

    Just joking...'cause I happen to be his #1 fan. :D On Writing, IMO, is a good writing book because he goes into his early life as a writer and the experiences that shaped him on his way to where he his now. Being a fan of King for decades now, it was of interest to me, and many others I'm sure, but probably wouldn't hold everyone's interest.

    As far as the technical aspects of writing, I felt he followed the rule he should follow in all his work--omit needless words.
     
  8. JCKey618
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    JCKey618 Member

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    I might not be able to call myself his biggest fan yet, but I'm an aspiring biggest fan. I've only read 12 of his books (and am on the 13th, Insomnia) but at the beginning of this last summer I had only read 2 of them fully (the Green Mile and On Writing) so you can imagine how much I've been in to them. I also have about 5 more already purchased that are waiting to be read.

    But I absolutely love Stephen King. I think too many people think of him as strictly horror (as in those that don't read them because they aren't in to horror), because his real value is in the realistic/unique characters he creates. I feel like he could write a book where nothing really ever happens but the way the characters are delved in to would still make it a good read.

    I was actually thinking about making a post just about him. I really do try to follow his advice a lot, and I think its good. The whole, writing with the door closed, letting your manuscript sit for a long (6 weeks or so) period of time before returning to it, cutting down the first draft by 15% when editing (which I have found the hardest to keep to).
     
  9. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Awesome! I've finally met another fan here. I collect his books and I believe I've read them all except for Blaze and Just After Sunset; I'm currently working my way through the latter. Insomnia is a particularly fine example of what you're talking about. I spent a week in Ralph's tired little world just this summer, for the second time.

    Also check out Heart-Shaped Box by his son Joe Hill, if you haven't already. Imo, he has all of his dad's good traits, but very few of King's bad ones.

    I hope you start a thread over in Book Discussion, I for one would love to talk about his work. LOL, can you imagine what his first draft must look like before he cuts 15%? :D
     
  10. Corpsetastic
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    Corpsetastic Senior Member

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    I have also read through King's 'On Writing' it's a very honest and interesting read, kind of half autobiographical, half guide or advice as it were.
     
  11. HKB
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    HKB Contributing Member

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    I recently read "The Lie that Tells a Truth", the first book on writing that I've read. It really demystified the writing process and got me motivated, and it's funny too.
     
  12. cwpcreator
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    cwpcreator Member

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    I have Ray Bradbury's "The Zen of Writing" which is a real good read, especially for aspiring sci-fi authors. I just got Alan Moore's "Writing for Comics" and King's "On Writing" for Christmas.
     

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