Recommended reference books

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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:08

Baker wrote:I'm with you on Donald Maas.
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:09

HH wrote:Is that the one on writing the breakout novel? I"ve not read it, but I've heard that it gets mixed reactions. Noah Lukeman's "The First Five Pages" seems to be more popular.
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:09

MeganMagill wrote:I wanted to add I've found this one very helpful too. Useful tips for writers at all levels - academic, commercial and social as well as novelists.

Image

Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing by Patricia T. O'Conner
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:09

Baker wrote:Care to tell us a little more about the book, M&M? (What does it cover? What did you learn from it?)
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:09

Ashre ashre ashre ashre wrote:I love On Writing by Stephen King, the autobiography part is most entertaining
and The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler which is based on the work of Joseph Campbell who studied mythology
Right now I am reading The Weekend Novelist by Robert J Ray
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:10

MeganMagill wrote:
Baker wrote:Care to tell us a little more about the book, M&M? (What does it cover? What did you learn from it?)


The tone of this book is a key reason I have recommended it. The author is clearly intelligent and knows her stuff but she imparts the information in a clear, entertaining way. I am vaguely scared of craft reference books as I often come away feeling overwhelmed and rather stupid. This book doesn't do that.

She explains thoroughly. For example:

She is trying to give me a message about the importance of careful placement of prepositions. (My first reaction = eh? Prepo-whatsit?). She goes on to illustrate with an ambiguous placement example.

There were rumours about the dormitory.

(My second reaction = Okay, so about is a preposition, good, got it. Now where that goes is important because...? Oh yeah, there are two ways you could read that sentence).

She reinforces my understanding by confirming: "Was the dorm the subject of the rumours? Or were the rumours spreading through the dorm? Say it one way or the other."

Topics in the book I have found particularly useful are:

- Aiming for clear speech, why convoluted, complex language is not what I should be creating
- The power level of different verbs
- Avoiding the subject "on hold" approach to tangents
- Match-making between sentences (wow, who knew)
- Dealing with fear of repetition
- POV (including how to change it well)
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:10

Baker wrote:OK. Thanks. That does look good. :)
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:10

Proofrdr wrote:The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
A tiny book with just about everything a writer needs to know about writing clearly. It gives the elementary rules of usage, the elementary principles of composition, and an approach to style. It is a handbook I have used since college days and it is still useful in its clear and intelligent approach to the elements that comprise style in writing.

From Where you Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction by Robert Olen Butler.
I like things in concrete form--structure gives me comfort, a sense of security, a starting place. But this, one of my favorite books about the process of writing, is all about the dreamspace of creativity. It approaches the writing process from emotion and yearning.

Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan.
HH, I know her last name because the book is right on the shelf in front of me. :;) This is the best book I've seen about getting description into writing without just dumping it there.
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:11

Baker wrote:
Proofrdr wrote:Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan.
HH, I know her last name because the book is right on the shelf in front of me. :;) This is the best book I've seen about getting description into writing without just dumping it there.

I have to agree with you again, Proof. This is the best book I've ever found about writing descriptively without writing globs of 'description'.
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Re: Recommended reference books

Postby PaulaO » 27 Mar 2010, 13:11

Proofrdr wrote:That's it, Baker...a hat-trick of agreements. It can go no further or the rumors will start.
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