May 17th, 2011


Books on Writing I Have Found VERY Helpful.

I believe that writers are also readers and will not hesitate to read about their craft in ways to perfect their art. Through the years, I've come across some very helpful ones and I thought I'd share them with you.

Of course, actual mileage may vary and there are many books I have not read so I'm very open to read more, especially ones recommended by you.

Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is truly one of my favorites. Part, "here's how it's done" and part autobiographical, there is a lot of good information here. However, one caveat: King swears like a sailor so my recommendation comes with guarded enthusiasm. However, on my mother's side I come from a long line of fishermen of bay and ocean and harsh language doesn't shock me as much as maybe it should.

Dialogue, by Lewis Turco is a great book written entirely in dialogue. The idea to teach dialogue that way is ingenious and though it got terrible reviews on Amazon, I found it to be the second best book in my pile.

Karen Elizabeth Gordan is author of two books: The Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, and The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. Let's just say when I first started out writing, I could put editors into convulsions. I desperately needed remedial English skills and these books with their odd humor filled the bill perfectly.

How to Write a D*mn Good Novel, by James N. Frey, in spite of the obscenity in the title, is again, an excellent book. In many ways it's much like King's but without any of the autobiography.

Cyn Mobley has written two books in her Book a Month series: BAM: Structure and BAM: First Page. They are very thin and rather expensive and worth every penny as her advice has been forged in the heat of real life.

Finally, Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art gave me something that I needed as a beginning writer especially as a Christian: permission to write. If you're a person of faith, you will certainly want to include this one.

Anybody have any more to recommend?