Monday, May 19, 2008

Books on Writing

Writing Books Quick Tip: Whenever you see a book on writing you think you'd like (I subscribe to Writer's Digest, so I see lots of books on writing that seem to call out my name), go straight to the Internet, pull up the website of your local library and see if they have the book in their system. If they do, go get it. I learned early not to buy every book on writing that looked interesting. I try them on first. I've saved a ton of bucks doing this.

But, on with the blog.

If you've been a writer for more than ten minutes, you'll be familiar with the oceans of books available designed to teach you about various aspects of writing and getting published (I've yet to see one really good book on how to get your book marketed - I think there are a grand total of two books out there on the subject). To be honest, most of the books contain the same sort of information. Format seems to be the issue with writing books - how the book presents the information to you, chapter length, original visual appeal over original content.

Still, there are a few "gems" out there, books that speak meaningfully to the writer. I'll post some of my favs here, and I'll talk about some I didn't like and why.

I'll also spend some time talking about the actual advice given in these books and highlight some contradictory advice I've come across and show you how to break the rules of writing on purpose, with great results (It's a good thing when publishers call you "original" or comment that they like your 'voice'.)

Along the way, I'll talk about pieces of writing advise I've read from other, well established authors, and why I think it is great advise, and, in some cases, why I think it's gibberish.

One thing I've noticed about books on writing is that few of them speak well of the art of writing, the art of creating worlds on blank paper. Some try, but they seem to come off as flaky, self-absorbed, or worse, not very well thought out. To me, it seems that books on writing tend toward the nuts and bolts of writing (the simplest things to learn and talk about), and very little about the art of creating great writing. I'll try to do both in the weeks to come. I'm hoping you, my happy blog readers, will point out to me when I've lost sight of this goal.

I'm looking forward to these coming weeks as we look into the world of books on writing.

On my next blog I'm going to introduce you to a book I think is worth looking at (at least borrowing from your local library), and I'll examine the contradictory advise about the use of adverbs in fiction writing.

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