Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Writing Books

A generous benefactor (my mom) has offered to buy me a couple writing books. She saw the comments last week when I said it's hard for me to get my hands on anything down here and said she'd order them so they'd be ready when I arrive home in September.

Now, you know how you can have a whole list of things you want, but the minute someone asks you, your mind goes blank? That's happened to me. I cannot think of any books! I know I saw one in the last month or so on a blog - real specific, huh? - that has something to do with 48 Reasons Not to Write, or 52 Ways to Get Published. Not to be confused with the blog 101 Reasons to Stop Writing (see right sidebar).

I believe my cousin has mention Donald Maas' Writing the Breakout Novel, but I could have the name or title wrong.

I already have Stephen King's On Writing, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. Beyond that, I'm open to your suggestions. I don't think I'm really a workbook type of person, but I'll keep an open mind.

I can't wait to hear your suggestions!

22 comments:

Zoe Winters said...

Is it: "78 Reasons why your book may never be published and 14 reasons why it just might" by: Pat Walsh?

Melanie Avila said...

YES! Thank you! I can just imagine how my google search would have gone...

Zoe Winters said...

If it is, I can send you that one. It's not overly helpful to me with the course I've chosen.

spyscribbler said...

Reading Like A Writer is incredible. One of the best books on writing I ever read, and it doesn't even talk about writing. I talks about how we can read to learn from other writers. FANTASTIC. Took my writing to a whole new level.

The other one I love is something like Understanding Character's Emotions. I forget the title, but it's got Character and Emotions in it.

Part of my learning process was that, for years, I'd read a bit of a writing book at Borders, then write and apply that knowledge to my current WIP. I've read the whole entire writing section.

Oh! Robert McKee's Story is really good, and Writing the Breakout Novel is definitely up there, too. You've got the hook already, lucky you, so the first three I mentioned might be better.

Melanie Avila said...

Zoe, I'd love your copy if you really don't want it. I can send you my parent's address so it'll stay domestic.

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, I'm so jealous. I was able to do a little of what you're talking about when I was home last fall, but we don't have bookstores or libraries here. At least not with English books, and especially not with specialized English books.

I'll look into those suggestions, thanks!

Zoe Winters said...

Fabulous, Melanie. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book, but it's not one I strictly need anymore and I'd rather share it with someone who wants/needs it. you can email me at: zoegrace AT gmail DOT COM. And I'll mail it out to your parents this weekend.

Melanie Avila said...

Zoe, done :)

Stephen Parrish said...

James N. Frey, How to Write a Damn Good Novel.

Melanie Avila said...

Hey now...

auria cortes said...

My favorite is Plot & Structure: (Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish)
by James Scott Bell.

On the recommendation of a friend I bought The Art of Fiction by John Garnder. I haven't read it, but my friend said it's fantastic. And he's a great writer.

Also, I may have the missed about you returning home. Does that mean you are moving back to the States? Or will you just visit?

Jenna said...

Here's my order--taking out the ones you already said you have of course :)...

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby

Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School by Gotham Writers' Workshop

Let us know what you decide!

colbymarshall said...

The First Five Pages by...oh, drat. That's the trouble with moving: all my books are still packed so I don't know the author. But, that's the title, anyway!

Zoe Winters said...

crap melanie, I'm a moron...grrrr. I checked my email and it's not there. I gave you the wrong freaking address. Which isn't the savviest thing to do when we're giving out personal information. OMFG, I'm sorry. The ACTUAL email address is: zoegrace25 AT gmail DOTCOM. zoegrace was already taken when I signed up. gah. I should know my own email address I check it every day.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks everyone, this is great! I'm going to research these this week so my benefactor can order them.

Auria, I'm going home for a 10-day visit in September.

Colby, I can probably find it based on that.

Zoe, I sent it again. Maybe the owner of the other email will also send me something. :)

stamperdad said...

In addition to books on writing make sure you have the following,

- good quality Almanac - I like New York Times.
- Desktop Encyclopedia of some kind, preferably in one volume

As for writing books here is one I own and love,
"How to Be an Instant Expert" by Stephen J. Spignesi.
( might be out of print, but Amazon has them)
Steve

Melanie Avila said...

Steve - that's a great suggestion, especially since I'm nowhere near a good old fashioned library.

Zoe Winters said...

Yeah, like a horse's head. :P

Melanie Avila said...

Shut it...

Stephen Parrish said...

Hey now...

Did I say something wrong?

Melanie Avila said...

Stephen, No! Every time I hear writers mention James Frey, I assume they're making fun of him. Did he really write that? I kind of recall hearing the name, but I'm not sure.

I'm off to research these books now.

Stephen Parrish said...

James N. Frey is a different James Frey. I've probably read a dozen books on how to write a novel, and his is the absolute best. Read the Amazon reviews here.