Today, I wanted to list some of the books I have read about writing which have helped me along my writing journey.
One of the first books is Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life written by Anne Lamott. This is a wonderful story of Anne’s journey as a writer, and not only does it offer tips on writing but it is a very encouraging read. As a writer you can hit so many potholes, sinkholes, and speed bumps along your road to a published novel making you discouraged at times. This is a very helpful book to uplift your spirits and keep you driving along.
Another great series of books that I rely on heavily and have used to a GREAT extent is the Write Great Fiction Series. These are books by various authors on subjects like Plotting, Character Viewpoint and Voice, Scene Setting, Dialogue, etc. They are wonderful. They are filled with writing exercises that help you fine-tune your craft.
I wanted to share with you a story that happened to me when I had my very first book signing. I had become friends with two of the most wonderful ladies in the world. They own a used bookstore in my hometown called The Bookworm. They graciously hosted a book signing for me on Halloween in 2010. Prior to the date, I went in to the store and Jean, one of the owners, said she had something for me. She handed me a book on writing written by none other than Phyllis Whitney. For those of you who don’t know, Phyllis was one of the pioneer writers of the Romantic Suspense genre. I cut my teeth on her as a teen. She is fabulous and it meant more to me than Jean would ever know to have a book on writing written by her.
In this book, Phyllis offers a great suggestion that I think we can all take advantage of. She starts a notebook on every new book she writes. In this notebook she divides it into sections. She has a section for Potential titles, Character names, Plot ideas, Plot outlines, and Research. As her novel progresses, she makes notes about what happens where in her novel, character personality traits, plot shifts, etc. This helps her keep track of what’s going on in her books. I thought this was a tremendous idea, and I could just picture her sitting down before the days of computers and writing all of this down. I find this suggestion extremely helpful, particularly if you’re writing a series.
Please comment on those books that you find helpful in your own writing journey, so we can all build our library.
Kelly, you’re right on with this writing info. exactly what I’ve been doing when it comes time to construct, prepare, establish a novel with notes (I mean notes!) of subplots, characters, names (which I change many times), certain sections, notes for different chapters. You name it; I’ve done it with writing procedures. You have, otherwise your hero in Ch. 3 turns out to be named Horatio in Ch. 24. My desk is a mountain of notes, stickies, even napkins have served as posts, thoughts, words. And then there’s my very own dictionary with a heady thesauras enclosed. I’ve actually got out of bed at night if a thought hits me and have to write it down otherwise it’d be forgotten.
Hi Ron, thanks for the reply. I keep a notebook by my bed for just such a purpose. Have you ever used Microsoft One Note? I love it for this purpose when I need an electronic notebook. It’s awesome.