Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hmmm, Which Writing Book Should I Buy Now?

A friend of mine has a blog called Books on Writing and I've been enjoying her take on the different books she posts on. The information she shares is helpful. Be sure to check it out.

Like most writers, I have quite a few on the subject and some I wished I hadn't wasted my money. Not that the authors didn't know what they were talking about, they were just boring. I will say if someone recommends a writing book, be sure they have a copy and use it often. Buyer beware if they say, "I heard that's a good one" but don't own it. I bought one on that recommendation and regretted it. Who has $10 to $25 to waste?

So remember, most people won't recommend a book they own and don't like.

One I suggest you check out is SAVE THE CAT! by Blake Snyder. I like his style of explaining things. It's easy to read and he has a quirky sense of humor. The book is actually for screenwriting but it can be applied to novels without a problem. I bought it when I read on another blog (can't remember whose) how excited the woman was about the book. She even claimed it helped her become published. So who can ignore that recommendation?

I do have several more I enjoy and use that are for storytelling in general, like THE WRITER'S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler, CREATING CHARACTER EMOTIONS by Ann Hood and THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.

What book(s) on writing do you find to be most useful?


Jeanie said...

I probably own half a dozen books on writing. Everything from a how to find your character book, to a character naming source book, etc. I must admit, though, that I don't use them much. Too busy trying to make my daily word count quota to READ about writing. The two books I can't write without, however, are my dictionary and my thesaurus. I'm on my third copy of the thesaurus. Wore that sucker clean out. And Mr. Google comes in handy if I need some quick info, music or pictures to inspire me.

Louisa Cornell said...

Stephen King's On Writing. Hands down. Very blunt, honest, to the point and helpful!

The rest of the books I used on a daily basis in my writing are my Regency era research books and I have over 150 of those.

Gwen Hernandez said...

I've been wanting to check out SAVE THE CAT. I'm going to add it to my wish list. The book I like for getting me to think about my characters in depth is THE PLOT THICKENS by Noah Lukeman.

Donald Maass' WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK is also great for going through after the first draft (or before if you're a serious plotter/outliner).

Finally, if you could use a simple, straightforward explanation of story structure, check out Larry Brooks' ebook, STORY STRUCTURE DEMYSTIFIED. It was exactly what I needed. Combine it with Debra Dixon's GMC and I'm set! ;-)

Carla Swafford said...

Oh, Jeanie, don't buy another thesaurus instead check out http://thesaurus.com. The website is wonderful. It's like five books in one. The dictionary feature is great too.

Also check out Bing.com - it's like Google but the first screen has some of the most beautiful pictures. Inspiring!

Thanks for commenting! Hugs.

Carla Swafford said...

WOW! Lousia! That's a bunch of Regency era books. LOL!

Carla Swafford said...

STORY STRUCTURE DEMYSTIFIED and THE PLOT THICKENS ... I'll have to check those out. Thanks for the suggestions.

Christine said...

I have bought some books that I probably didn't need. I have some I revisit again and again. I've attended more workshops on story structure (and I have STORY STRUCTURE DEMYSTIFIED and it's good) and each one has a different take on the process--well, too much information is sometimes -- too much.

Great post. Might have to check out the next book in my long line of books where I try to demystify writing.

Jeanie said...

Will do, Carla, and thanks for the tips and the cyber hugs!

Carla Swafford said...

Thanks, Christine.

Stern Rake Studio said...

I'll second the motion in favor of "Save the Cat." I have a copy and I love Blake Snyder's breezy style. He was our last keynote speaker at the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) Summer Conference a couple years ago. In fact, that's where I bought my copy.

Blake's great speaker, so if he's attending an event in your hometown, then you need to go!