Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three great books for writers

I have to start with On Writing by Stephen King. It was one of the first books 'on writing' that I discovered and definitely one of the best. When I first found it I skipped straight to the 'toolbox' section, where Stephen explains - as only Stephen can - how he crafts a manuscript and his views on vexed questions such as adverbs. While we are on that subject, I will just say that although I try to keep the adverb count fairly low in my stories, there is still something to be said for Stephanie Laurens advice to keep some, because women love to know HOW the hero does things (passionately, tenderly, aggressively, reverentially - makes a big difference to a kiss, doesn't it?). Getting back to Stephen King, it was extremely enlightening to read the extract from one of his own manuscripts including all the handwritten edits on it. It is fascinating to see how the great man works.
    My next recommendation is The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. This book is a shoot-from-the-hip advice manual for writers. It is not about honing your craft. It is about developing a professional mindset, hence chapter headings such as 'You are a business, and your books are the product' and 'Whining will not help you win the battle for publication'. Having said that, this book does include some valuable information about improving manuscripts - I really enjoyed the chapter entitled 'Characters all alone should do more than think'. And I loved the laugh out loud quotes from Terri Blackstock about how the writer's mood is directly linked to their amazon rankings.
     Now, at last, I can tell you how much I enjoyed 'The Newbies Guide to Publishing' by JA Konrath. I laughed all evening yesterday reading it. Not only is it great insider advice about what to do after you get published (and many of us are so mesmerized by that goal that we don't even consider what happens after) it is also an incredibly entertaining read. Now I have to warn you - it is informally written - like a series of blog posts, which may be how it started life, but I laughed out loud all evening reading it. I am a big fan of Joe Konrath from now on, and I am never putting SASEs in my submissions to agents again.
Just so you know - I bought these books, with real money - my husband's money, obviously - but money all the same.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Cody - I've been meaning to read Stephen King's and have never heard of Jo Konrath. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  2. Thanks Tyree, you'll enjoy both of them. I read JA Konrath's one in a single sitting - I got it as an e-book and read it on my laptop. Normally I wouldn't want to spend that much time staring at the screen but Joe is really funny. Stephen King's book has been out for a long time but it's still a 'must read'.

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  3. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

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  4. Hi There! I'm your newest follower from MBC! Hope you can swing by and return the favor:) http://www.mammatown.blogspot.com

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  5. I haven't read any Stephen King yet! Thanks for recommending :)

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  6. Stopping by from MBC and following! Hope you'll follow back!

    kicards.blogspot.com

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  7. Those all seem like great recommendations. I don't know how anyone could "think" like Stephen King. How does that man's mind work? Love him!
    I would love to check out your book too!

    New to following you from MBC!
    Danielle
    www.DaniellePender.com

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  8. New follower from MBC! Love the blog! Can't wait to read more!

    Check out my blog please!

    http://greatexpectations-kyna.blogspot.com/

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  9. Stephen King's On Writing is a fantastic read for writers! I am following you from Mom Bloggers Club! Would love it if you LIKE my page: www.facebook.com/flightlessgoose or my twitter: www.twitter.com/wlbks

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  10. Hey Cody!! Another new follower from MBC! I'll have to check out a couple of these books!!! Congrats on getting published! Hope you'll check me out - ahouseofbeauty.blogspot.com

    Looking fwd to connecting!

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  11. Thanks so much to my new followers who found me through MBC - it is a great way to find interesting blogs. Hopefully I've followed up on all your links. Candis - do you have follow by Google Connect? If not I'll find another way.

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  12. Hi Cody! Following you from MBC! I love your blog. Great information about books that can really help. I'm excited to read them. Stephen King's book would be an eye opener to see how he thinks ~ what a mind he must have! So glad you were on MBC ~ your site has such helpful information. Thanks. Would love to have you follow me back, leave any tips, tricks and comments you like :)
    http://nonasnotes.blogspot.com

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