April 29th, 2009

BOOKS ABOUT WRITING: WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?

My friend xjenavivex has a review of Stephen King's On Writing  over at Good Reads.  It got me thinking about some of the great writing books that are out there.

Most recently I've read Les Edgerton's Hooked  and Noah Lukeman's  The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying out of the Rejection Pile.   I got a lot out of both, though if I had to choose, I'd recommend The First Five Pages, because (as the title suggests) it focuses on that all-important start to your novel.

Over the last three years I've read dozens of writing books.  Some proved more helpful than others, though I suspect much of that has been due to where I was as a writer, rather than any failure on the book's part.  They all contain useful information, often not discovered on the first read (I think re-reading books on writing is a must).   Some I come back to time and again, like the excellent Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass,  and Blythe Camenson & Marshall J. Cook's Give 'Em What They Want, (which has the best instructions and step-by-step guide to producing a synopsis I've found to date).

At the last GSHW meeting, Elizabeth Bear (matociquala) recommended Techniques of the Selling Writer ,  by Dwight V. Swain, and Story,   by Robert McKee. I haven't got around to reading them yet, but they're next on my non-fiction list.

I'm sure there are some other great books out there.  What was the last one you read?  Which ones have you found most helpful, and why?
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