Writing about Writing about Writing 24

Part 24 of an intermittent series where I read or re-read the writing books on my shelf to see if they’re worth keeping. See previous part here and Index of all books here.

WAWAW rises from the mists of time – I last did a post almost a year ago but due to ‘the circumstances’ I’ve been forced to let the blog languish. So dusting it off

A woman blowing the dust off of the cover of a book.

and giving it yet another revival – because of course I have been reading writing books this year and I have been accumulating writing books this year and I’ll be starting, once again, the book versus book death match to fit on the ‘writing’ shelf (currently double/triple stacked)  – at the moment I won’t return to any of the books in the Index but rather read the books that have somehow sneaked into the house in ’22 when I shouldn’t be buying any more writing books…

How to write your first novel – this isn’t a bad book, but it’s far too ‘starter writer’ for me (‘ark at ‘ee) and, I think, pretty much a ‘if you haven’t read a creative writing book before you could start with this’  and so onto the discard pile it goes.

Points of View edited by James Moffat is a fat book because it’s full of example stories – the editors posit a new (to me) schema for narrative POV, based on ‘distance’ and a universal scale, explain each POV and demonstrate the technique with one or more short stories. This made me think about POV in a whole different way. Recommended.

Improve your punctuation and grammar – a nuts & bolts does what it says on the tin style book – a charity shop purchase, a refresher quick read, but not keeping as already have the books I like on this subject.

Before we get started – Bret Lott isn’t a well-known author but this book of essays as ‘writing memoir’ is very good – it gets you to think about some topics in a different way, which to me is the mark of a good writing book (see points of view)

In a similar vein On Writing Fiction by Jauss is an excellent collection of essays on the craft, recommended by, I think Laird Barron on Philip Fracasi’s The Dark Word Podcast (recommend this podcast btw) – the essay ‘long shots to x-rays’ is worth buying the book for.

Burning down the house – Baxter is better known as an editor I think (the art of series) and the author of a previously discarded The Art of Subtext (13). I’m in two minds about this book – many of the essays failed to land with me but there are several very good ones too – a very uneven read. At the moment it’s on the shelf but it might not survive a re-read

The complete book of scriptwriting is comprehensive but not quite the one stop shop bible I was hoping it would be. At the moment it sits on a second rung along with Syd Field’s books and may not survive a cull when one falls…

Shukla’s Your story matters feels as though Nikesh is sat with you cheering you on and it’s a great guide to writing craft and attitude, recommended.

Writers Block and how to use it – I know several writers who say writers block doesn’t exist. Good for them that their fight/flight/freeze response doesn’t kick in or doesn’t manifest in doing anything other than writing. The rest of us chronic procrastinators and ‘blocked’ writers need a guide and Nelson provides a non-judgmental cheer to get you going. If you’ve ever suffered from procrastination or block then this is the book for you.

In a similar vein but with added exercises is The Writer as Artist – confront your writing fears in a safe way and find your own voice. I think this complements the Writers Block book pretty well so am minded to keep both of them

Drop a comment with your favourite writing book or tip here or email me via the Contact page. If you’re a publisher or Indie Author and would like me to review your writing book drop me a line!

Published by suttope

Pete Sutton has a not so secret lair in the wilds of Fishponds, Bristol and dreams up stories, many of which are about magpies. He's had stuff published, online and in book form, and currently has a pile of words that one day may possibly be a novel. He wrote all about Fishponds for the Naked Guide to Bristol and has made more money from non-fiction than he has from fiction and wonders if that means the gods of publishing are trying to tell him something. You can find him all over social media or worrying about events he’s organised at the Bristol Festival of Literature. On Twitter he’s @suttope and his Bristol Book Blog is here: http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk/ He's contributing editor of Far Horizons e-magazine which can be found here: http://info-far-horizons.wix.com/far-horizons-emag

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