Friday, October 07, 2005

Books On Writing What I Read In The Last Year
PART I: THE GOOD

I've read quite a few books on writing over the last year, while working on the novel. So I thought I'd share, starting off with the books that were good.

If you're not an aspiring writer, you may want to skip to the Steven King book--it's probably the only one you'll read.

Patricia T. O'Conner - Woe Is I
I searched for this book for months in physical bookstores, finally giving up and ordering it from Amazon. After a month had passed and the other items in my order had all been shipped, I still hadn't received this book. I contacted Amazon and they sent me a new copy, free of charge, with faster air freight. It came to me within a week. A great refresher course in grammar.

Orson Scott Card - Characters & Viewpoint
Even though I'm writing crime, Orson Scott Card is my favourite author. I've been reading and re-reading his books since early high school. His writing is the definition of clarity. Which means that he has a pretty good idea on characters, viewpoint, and every other ingredient of a good story.

Orson Scott Card - How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy
Has a great section on what Orson calls the MICE quotient. Milieu, Idea, Character, Events. The idea is that every story can only contain so much of each of these, and you have to decided which ones are the most important to your story.

Monica Wood - Description
I like to refresh myself on this every now and then. This book taught me to search for the telling detail - it can describe much more than what is told.

Nancy Kress - Beginnings, Middles & Ends
So far the best book I've read on structure and plot.

Steven King - On Writing
An interesting insight into one of the most successful authors' writing process, this one is more of a memoir, and that is where it is at its most compelling.

Gillian Roberts - You Can Write A Mystery
An amazingly concise and clear handbook for writing a mystery, this book gave me direction where I only had some idea of where to go.

Deadly Doses: a writer's guide to poisons - Serita Deborah Stevens with Anne Klarner
A good reference for deciding what poison a villain will use, it can be skimpy on the details. Worth it for the cross reference section, where poisons are listed by toxicity, duration, and symptoms.

Look out for the next post on THE BAD.

2 comments:

feminine expressions said...

what a wonderful site and a lovely resource! i am a nonfiction writer (the beginning kind) and have been a business writing instructor (but also of grammar, the american english kind) and find this a lovely site. i am headed out of town but will explore you further when i return.

lovely, just lovely...

Daniel Hatadi said...

Thanks very much. I hope you enjoy your visit here, and good luck with all your writing.