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Getting the tools to write

So, You Want to Write

Oh, that’s right. You’re at a writers’ conference.

You’ve sat down and learned to write every day. You’re getting better and want to improve more. There are a lot of ways to do so. Go to writer’s groups, attend conferences and workshops, find like minded souls online, read books, etc. I read every day so books for me are a good option, but don’t ignore the other methods.

I have read some books on writing. Looking back, what would I read if I knew then what I know now, and in what order? Granted this is personal and will be different for everyone else but the following will give you a good grounding. I won’t get into books on storytelling here but there are good ones. As Craig Johnson says, the number one thing in writing is: “Writing starts with the mechanics.” With that in mind, I will concentrate on that topic.

  1. “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself into Print”: by Renni Browne and Dave King, Apr 13, 2004. A great book to start with. A good read, fairly short and will give you a good grounding on several topics. There is a good reason it still sells well.
  2. K. M. Weiland’s “Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story” Aug 17, 2013 and “Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development” Nov 1, 2016. These two will give you a good grounding in what readers have come to expect in modern novels. What you might want to have in your opening, the structure and flow of a novel, how to tie the protagonists struggle in with the plot, etc. Not necessary to write a good novel but will help you make sure everything that readers want to see is there.
  3. Jeff Gerke’s “The First Fifty Pages” and “Plot vs. Character”. The man has a way with words. How to improve your opening and get a better grip on what Weilland talks about. If you have read the previous books, what he says will really sink in.
  4. Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey.” He took Joseph Campbell’s treatises on what made the tales, stories and plays throughout history resonate and wrote a practical guide for authors. Granted, it is not as step by step as Weilland or Gerke but you see will where a lot of their concepts originated. I was particularly taken with the concepts of archetypes for characters. Hey, who doesn’t want big, colorful, imaginative characters. You can see a lot of what he presents directly impacting books and movies like “Star Wars.” And he doesn’t miss many opportunities for self-promotion. Granted, he is from the movie industry but if you want to sell books, it might be something to pay attention to.

  These books helped me the most, there are others.

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