The days and months are flying. It’s August already–another IWSG day. The purpose of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
August 4 question always option is: What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?
I think you’ll agree there are so many good craft books and we can learn from all of them. But let me ask how you read a craft book? From beginning to end? Spot read? Scan a paragraph here and there. Read just what you need? I have to admit I’m pretty guilty. Years ago I read a book called Writing Pop Fiction. The title alone tells you how long ago that was. 🙂 The author suggested the new writer (me) take 12 (or whatever) sheets of paper, each signifying a chapter and jot down a few things that might happen in each chapter. That pretty much helped me write my first two books and I find myself still reverting to that method when I’m having problems. But most times, I create a basic Beginning, Middle and End of my story or book. I think I learned that from Syd Field’s Screenwriting book.
When I read a craft book, I do so with a highlighter. Even if I read on my kindle, I highlight in various colors. I like to be able to revisit without reading the entire book.
I love this instruction from This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley.
Poets know that poems are songs, but few of us realize that novels are too. If there is no music to your novel, no sound, then the book will be at best incomplete. You must have a rhythm to your characters, a unique cadence to the way each one speaks, an identifiable cacophony to the world(s) they inhabit, and a beat to the story that, when varied, gives the read an almost unconscious sign of events about to unfurl.
No one will tell you how to score your novel, so that means you have to discover the music for yourself.
This little book is about 128 pages; it was wonderful from beginning to end. When I finished This Year You Write Your Novel, I felt rejuvenated, excited about writing and anxious to get back to my own books and stories.
I liked it so much I bought my writing son-in-law a copy. As you can see, I’m heavy on the highlighter here.
Books on the craft of writing are a must, but we need to actually read good books. We can learn so much from our favorite authors. I don’t know about you, but when I read a good story with characters I like, or that fascinate me, I feel encouraged to sit down and write.
Do you read with a highlighter in your hand? How do you study a novel?