Saturday, September 02, 2006

Books on books

When she spoke to Southern Magic recently, Debra Dixon suggested a few writing resource books--all of which are now on my Amazon wish list! I wanted to share one of my favorite tools, The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders. It’s in the Hoover library, but after I renewed it the sixth time, I decided to buy a copy of my own.

The book lists sixteen common characters you’ll find in good novels--eight men and eight women--and explains what makes them tick. Fine. But THEN it goes on to match each of the men with each of the women, and to detail why those characters will be attracted to each other and why they won’t be able to stay in the same room. Wonderful for romance writing. And THEN it provides multiple examples of each of these interactions from popular movies. It’s a fabulous brainstorming tool for setting up your novels, much better than some other character resource books with vague lists.

What’s your favorite resource book? Rather than suggesting a lot, maybe you could talk about one book you love, why you love it, and what you use it for.


Angel said...

My all-time favorite "writing" book is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King.

There are chapters and exercises on everything including Characters, Show versus Tell, action verbs, and dialogue, to name just a few. The one thing that--I think--makes this book different is they offer excellent, detailed, multiple examples and the explanations are so simple that you really get it. I reread this every time I start a revision.

My other fave is "Writing From the Inside Out" by Dennis Palumbo. This is a book about how to write, its a book about being a writer. With chapters on dealing with rejection, other writers, and the process of putting your most intimate self on the page. This book made me see that some things I thought were strange about myself are actually normal for writers. Also, it gives great advice for dealing with the ups and downs of the submission process.


cchant said...

I have so many it's hard to pick one, but if I had to name two (see can't pick just one) I felt affected my writing the most (and I found myself making copious notes while reading) it would be:

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Don't Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden (not just for mystery writers, BTW! Check it out!!!)


Carla Swafford said...

English Grammar for Dummies. Since this is my favorite, I never understood why people get offended when I give them a "For Dummies" book -- but they have. But that's another story.
Another book -- like everyone, there can't be just one -- is Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood.