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 W Sutton is a writer and editor. His two short story collections – A Tiding of Magpies and The Museum for Forgetting – were shortlisted for Best Collection in the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 & 2022 respectively. His novel – Seven Deadly Swords – was published by Grimbold Books. He has edited several short story anthologies and is the editor for the British Fantasy Society Horizons fiction magazine.

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