1. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    What are your favorite, "learn writing," resources?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by VirtuallyRealistic, Apr 29, 2015.

    I'm watching Brandon Sanderson's lectures online, and they've been quite informative. I'm wondering what resources you guys would recommend? Lectures, videos, books, blogs, websites, etc.
     
  2. trimarine
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    trimarine Member

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    This forum is really the only website I've ever actually learned from. Iv'e never even read any books about it, I probably should though.
    The most influence Iv'e had is analyzing books that I read, "How does this author pace the story? what does he/she describe in detail and what does he/she leave out? etc."
     
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  3. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I had never done anything outside of analyzing books I read until I found this website. Now I've had useful videos and books recommended to me, and they have been invaluable.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know about other forms of writing, but the best overall source I've come across for novelists is The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, published by Writer's Digest Books.

    The thing that sets this series apart from many other wannabe how-to book is that the contributions come from famous authors as well as the usual writing gurus. I own two editions.

    The one published in 2002 has contributions from: Margaret Atwood, Terry Brooks, Octavia E Butler, Tom Clancy, Janet Fitch, Elizabeth George, Sue Grafton, J A Jance, Gish Jen, Terry McMillan, Joyce Carol Oates, James Patterson, Richard Russo, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut and many many more. These authors all present different approaches to problem solving, so it's not a one-size-fits-all publication. These people have experience, and it's wise to learn from experience.

    The categories are: The Craft, The Art, The Process, The Genres, The Marketplace and The Interviews.

    Within the categories are chapters such as these (from The Craft section): The Philosophy of Plot, The Plot Thickens, What I Stole From The Movies, The Fifty-Page Dash, Find Your Novel's Missing Links, Don't Just Conclude the Plot ...Nail the Landing, Who's Afraid of Point of View?, Creating Four-Dimensional Characters, Seven Tools for Talk. This is a very comprehensive book.

    I also own an earlier version of this book, which is entitled The Writer's Digest Handbook of Novel Writing. This was published in 1992, and contains contributions from more, and different, authors. Again, a similar format and very worthwhile. I'm not sure if there are other editions out there ...maybe more recent that my 2002 copy? ...but they are well worth buying. And the best thing is, they're not expensive!

    Do yourself a favour, though. Don't buy it on Kindle, because you'll want to be able to skip around. These kinds of books are murder to use on Kindle.

    ...................

    edited - Just checked, and yes there is a later edition, published in October, 2010. It retails on Amazon here in the UK for £16.99. (You can get it cheaper if you buy used.) Don't know what the USA price would be, but it's well worth it.
     
  5. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    Thank you for the recommendation, and the thorough breakdown; I really appreciate it. I've just searched it on google, and found these three results: http://i.imgur.com/pnxsNKq.png (Linking directly instead of posting image because it's fairly large)

    I think I'm going to pick up all three because they all seem useful, but I'm curious which one you own (If it's any of the three)? It'll be the first of the three I read. :)
     
  6. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I own both the 1992 version and the 2002 version. I may order the 2010 version at some point as well. I think they're probably all valuable, but maybe the newest version has more up-to-date stuff about marketing in it—if that concerns you. The one I used the most was the 1992 version, because I didn't get the 2002 version till just a few years ago.
     
  8. auntiebetty
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    auntiebetty Active Member

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    I own at least a dozen of the separate books in the Writer's Digest compendium mentioned by Jannert. I purchased them in bundles when WD offered the bundle pricing (at least 50% off and sometimes 70%). Also, the bundles also sometimes come with past webinars which can be downloaded and (watch/listen) at will.

    I do not subscribe to the WD magazine. I do receive their free email notices which can be quite annoying if you're unable to deal with a lot of junk mail. I just try to keep in mind that somebody somewhere is not interested in what I am, but they are getting the emails that spurred me to purchase my bundles.

    The other way I learn is attending weekly local Meetup critique groups that are usually free or on a donation basis. Locations are found at the Meetup website, a national site that lists participating writing critique groups all over the United States.
     
  9. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    The podcast "Writing Excuses". I basically used the nine seasons worth of back-archives as curriculum.
     
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  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have several volumes of the old Paris Review interviews with writers. I also subscribe to the magazine, and there are interviews with good writers in every issue. These interviews are long and in depth, covering everything from philosophy and themes to working habits to techniques. The Paris Review has interviewed nearly everyone prominent in writing since the 1950s - everyone from Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner to Stephen King and William Gibson. Many Nobel Prize winners are included, as well as Pulitzer Prize and Man Booker Prize winners. These interviews comprise an extremely valuable resource for novice writers who want to learn from the greats.

    John Gardner's two books on writing, The Art of Fiction and On Becoming a Novelist, are wonderful as well.

    A long time ago (in my early twenties, I think), I subscribed to Writer's Digest. I got the magazine for two or three years and then let the subscription lapse - the articles were highly repetitive and most of them weren't really serving my needs. It's like reading issue after issue of bodybuilding magazines. How many articles on building biceps can there be? Just do curls, already! That's what reading Writer's Digest was like. After reading twenty articles on showing versus telling, all saying basically the same thing, you just stop getting the magazine. :meh:
     
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  11. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    Wonderbook. Jeff Vandermeer.
     
  12. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I'll be ordering both your book recommendations this week. I appreciate the suggestions. I'm looking at the Parish Review website right now, and their archives are pretty pricy. I'm thinking about subscribing, but haven't decided yet.
     

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