1. lavendercloud
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    lavendercloud New Member

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    List of Writing Books: My Self-Education

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by lavendercloud, Aug 7, 2009.

    I love checking out library books about writing. It certainly complements my college education, and I usually fill my summers with reading. Of course, I try to balance this writing-book addiction with other kinds of non-fiction as well as a healthy dose of fiction, and sometimes a smattering of poetry. Here's what I'm in the middle of right now:

    Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose - I'm slowly falling in love with this book. The only way I can convince myself not to reread each paragraph multiple times is by reminding myself that once I finish it, I can always go back to the beginning.

    The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard - Beautiful essays that make for easy and elegant reading.

    A Novel in a Year, by Louise Doughty - Fun, light, encouraging reading with some interesting writing exercises.

    The Best American Short Stories 2000 - Pure fiction that's teaching me a lot, especially coupled with Prose's book. I wanted to get the Best American Short Stories of the Century from the library, but it was pretty hefty and I didn't think I'd get through it all, so I settled for this - and I love it!

    I also picked up Writer's Digest's Novel Writing issue today, which has some helpful and entertaining articles.

    What are you reading to spur your writing along?
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not--too busy with other reading right now. You really should read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. She's like a very maternal, compassionate creative writing professor. Perfect.
     
  3. lavendercloud
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    lavendercloud New Member

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    I just looked at that at the bookstore yesterday and determined to get it from the library. It looks quite promising!
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I don't read writing books as such...I looked at a few once and the two I happened to grab had contradictory bits of information so I decided that wasn't right for me (one of them promised to teach how to write a "modern" novel, but the advice was already out-dated and sounded flat out wrong in the first place...)
    Instead, and I feel like a bit of a dick for admitting it, I read critically acclaimed fiction. I figure that if someone who reads for a living says there's something of value here, I should take a look and work out what it is.
    Especially prize winners, and especially if the judges are writers themselves. That way you're kinda guaranteed to find something interesting/original/inspiring.
    And it means your book-buying money is rarely wasted :D
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't have much faith in How-to books about writing, other than standard references like The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, The Little, Brown Handbook for Writers, The Chicago Manual of Style, and a pile of dictionaries and such.

    I don't just read fiction, though. I dissect it. I analyze why I like or dislike a particular novel, or part of a novel, especially if that's not my usual reacrion to that writer's work. I've learned far more from that than from the How-to books.

    And yes, I have read a few How-to books. In every case, I've seen plenty of that author's personal biases mixed in with solid advice. Many aspects of writing are highly individualized, and it;s important to know when "This is what you should do" only really means "This is what I do" or even "This is what I think I should do, although I find a hard time sticking to it."
     
  6. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing. This small book is more about increasing the flow of the story than anything else and is just a great read.
     
  7. Aidura
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    Aidura Member

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    I've read a part of "How Not To Write a Novel" by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman. It was pretty funny and spot on. But I'd rather use the money to buy a storybook than that because it was wayyyy to expensive for a self-help book. It's more of the type of books that you'd borrow than buy.
     
  8. tourniquet
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    tourniquet New Member

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    I've read a couple useless 'how to' books but a good one (and a classic) is Aspects of the Novel by E.M.Forster. It's a fun reading with some cool perspectives.
     

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