wine on the keyboard

Let’s Talk Writing Books

by Kay~Kacey on 10/22/2005

I love to read nonfiction writing books. I can usually get some glimmer of an ah-ha moment, or some gem of information. I don’t think you can ever learn too much about a subject you’re interested in. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a particular part of my story…characterization or plot of whatever…I’ll pick up a writing book and browse through it. Quite often that will help me break loose.

So what writing books do you like? They can be inspirational like BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamont, or upping your creativity like THE ARTIST’S WAY like Julia Cameron, or nitty gritty get down and write like Deb Dixon’s GMC. (Goal, Motivation, and Conflict). Do you have some favorite books you browse through when your stuck? Or did one book give you and ah-ha moment about your writing? What have been some of your favorite writing books?

Rene October 22, 2005 at 10:50 am

Well, I guess my first would be The Romance Writers Handbook by Rebecca Vinyard. It’s a great, easy to read book with a contribution from your’s truly on historical research 😉

I think the writing book that had the most impact on me was Scene & Structure by Jack Bickham. Really changed how I looked at my writing.

Mary October 22, 2005 at 11:19 am

I like Elizabeth Berg’s WRITING INTO THE OPEN.

kacey October 22, 2005 at 11:25 am

Oh, Mary, I bought that Elizabeth Berg book after hearing you talk about it. It’s a good inspirational read.

Rene, haven’t seen the Romance Writer’s Handbook, but I’ll check it out next time I’m at the bookstore. Scene & Structure is great though, isn’t it? It just spells out the basics. I can’t believe I wrote so long without reading it, because after I did read it, I was like DUH.

Suzanne October 22, 2005 at 12:12 pm

I loved Bird by Bird. I didn’t like The Artist’s Way. It had too many instructions, LOL, and I didn’t like the morning pages thing.

Le Ellis October 22, 2005 at 1:32 pm

I too love Bird by Bird and Berg’s book. Also, love anything by Robert Newton Peck. Dwight Swain’s Techniques of a Selling Writer is great. And I love Deb Dixon’s GMC. Right now I’m reading How to Write a Damn Good Novel by….oh drat…what’s his name? Anyway, I have a hard time reading fiction when I’m writing, especially starting a book, but books about writing are always helpful to me.

LoryKC October 22, 2005 at 3:31 pm

Bird by Bird. I just pulled it out again today, as a matter of fact! It’s sitting right here with so many dog-eared pages it looks pathetic but I couldn’t get by without it.

Emma S October 22, 2005 at 7:39 pm

On writing by Stephen King.

I’ve probably read it close to a dozen times. Even my husband likes it (and he doesn’t write).

Olga October 22, 2005 at 9:22 pm

The books that I would like to read are Bird by Bird and GMC by Deb Dixon. But I hope it’s okay to confess that I don’t read writing books much (but I do read articles about writing on many author’s pages, lots of them). I also try to educate myself by reading the authors I love and figuring out what makes it work in their books!

Michelle October 23, 2005 at 7:42 am

I like On Writing by Stephen King and Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. Swain’s book is very …er…concentrated. I have to take it in small doses, but he’s right.

Don’t know about the Donald Maass book yet.:typing:

Kelly C. October 23, 2005 at 8:30 am

The only non-fic writing book I’ve picked up is WRITING THE BREAK-OUT NOVEL, and I never finished it. Some make think I’m snobby and feel I know everything about writing, but that’s the case at all. 😀 I don’t have the patience for non-fic books, so everything I’ve learned from writing has been from on-line classes, and fiction books.

kacey October 23, 2005 at 8:42 am

Le, How to Write a Damn Good Novel–James Frey

Oh, I forgot about the Stephen King book, On Writing. That’s a good one.

KellyC, wish I didn’t have such an addiction to nonfiction writing books, but I do. I’m always picking them up. Not only non fiction writing books, but non fiction on any topic that grabs my attention. Yoga. Journaling. Photography. Home decorating. Knitting. Weaving. Everything. I’d love to have a house big enough to have a library with tons of shelves to hold all our books. Organize them. Sigh. :love:

Teresa October 24, 2005 at 7:42 am

Hmm – I LOVE GMC by Deb Dixon, Karen Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days, Browne & King’s Self Editing for Fiction Writers, How to Write and Sell Historical Fiction by Persia Woolley and McCutcheon’s Building Believable Characters. Recent purchases I haven’t more than skimmed include Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood and Elizabeth George’s Write Away. Hope to get to those AFTER my GH entry is done 🙂

Steph T. October 24, 2005 at 9:08 am

I love King’s On Writing since he doesn’t give out rules. I also like it because he talks about plot coming naturally from characters, since plotting is a pretty foreign concept to me 😉

I’ve got Deb Dixon’s book – I have to say, reading books like that confuse the heck out of me. I usually rely on one of my cp’s to explain stuff like that to me in small doses. Katie’s good at that – breaking down the GMC for me by asking me a few small questions.

But the best writing advice I ever got was from PBW and her use of the 3 questions she asks each character before starting a book (and they work any time, even at the revsion stage): Who are you? What do you want? What’s the worst thing I can do for you? Simple and easy, which I like.

Sheesh, I wrote a book here. Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules…

Melissa Marsh October 24, 2005 at 11:37 am

For sheer motivation, Brenda Ueland’s “If You Want To Write.” I just bought Deb Dixon’s GMC this weekend at my chapter conference where Deb was our speaker!

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