Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do you read books on writing?

A friend and I were discussing the late Blake Snyder's book Save the Cat during lunch this week, and she commented that she didn't think a lot of romance writers read books about writing.

I was surprised because it seems like someone’s always touting this book or that, and I have a shelf full of books about the craft of writing and how to stay motivated (some still TBR). But that's how I do things.

What about you? Do you read books about writing? If so, do you have a preference for craft books (e.g. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell) or motivational books (e.g. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott)? Feel free to share your favorites.

Or do you prefer taking classes, or studying works by your favorite authors?

Or all of the above?

My inquiring mind wants to know. ;-)


M.V.Freeman said...

Funny how you bring up a subject I was thinking about! I used to flip through writing books, read what I needed and moved on. Now, I read books on writing--as well as read fiction.

My current book I'm reading is: "The Productive Writer" By Sage Cohen. VERY good.

And I have "Bird by Bird" downloaded onto my Nook. And I have a Plot/Scene structure book I 'm going to dive into.

I'm determined to hone my craft. I've finally realized that I have to treat writing like work--take training courses, read, and learn as much as possible.

(And I can't believe your friend said what she did about Romance Writers--too funny!)

Excellent Post Gwen!

Lexi said...

I can--believe that she said that about romance writers, i mean--but good writing is good writing, IMHO. I am too busy writing to read books about it, although I have a few sitting around that I gaze at wistfully and with a twinge of guilt from time to time.

Carla Swafford said...

SAVE THE CAT is one of my favorites and I need to pull it out and refresh my memory. It's been at least three months since I read it (again). HERO'S JOURNEY is another one I like a lot.

I do find myself checking out different websites on writing. My favorite is this one...

Louisa Cornell said...

I do troll writers' blogs for articles about the nuts and bolts of writing specific subjects. I've read a number of books on craft and while I do tend to take what I can use and leave the rest I do read the whole book. You never know what you might find. I also read quite a bit in my own genre. Knowing the problems in my work and reading someone else work often results in a light bulb moment for me.

Joanna Bourne has a great series of articles for writers on her website. And in one of those she says "The first million words are for practice." I am beginning to believe that more and more. Only about another 500 K to go!

I love Stephen King's On Writing and Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer.

Definitely going to check out some of these books!

Gwen Hernandez said...

I agree, Mary. If we want writing to be our work, we need to treat it like our work.

And just to clarify, my friend is a member of RWA and was not disparaging romance writers, just stating what she'd noticed.

Keep up with your hard work, Mary. You'll get there!

Gwen Hernandez said...

Lexi: Obviously whatever you're doing is working, so I wouldn't fix it! ;-)

Gwen Hernandez said...

Thanks for the link, Carla. I'll have to check it out. I loved SAVE THE CAT. And Michael Hauge rocks too. I listened to his seminar with Christopher Vogler called The Hero's Two Journeys. Very interesting.

Gwen Hernandez said...

I'm like you, Louisa. I take small nuggets from each book. Only what I need. And I like reading WD and RWR for quick bites of help or ideas.

I love Joanna Bourne, but didn't realize she has writing articles on her site. Thanks for the suggestion!

Lexi said...

Thanks, Gwen. The snobbery that we encounter as romance writers makes me crazy sometimes, but there you are. Like I said, good writing is good writing, and anybody who thinks writing romance is easy hasn't tried!

Gwen Hernandez said...

Agreed, Lexi. My friend wasn't disparaging romance writers. Those are just the writers we both know. =)