What Am I Reading?
Over the years, I've read quite a few books on writing and storytelling in general. I've shared a few here, including a few reference books on grammar and punctuation that I've helpful. Enjoy!
This book has greatly influenced my writing and how I think about my main protagonist. So much so that I rewrote many of the chapters where my main character appeared and gave him more of a backstory to explain his current motivations. While this book was written with screenwriters in mind, it is still a great reference for any budding author wishing to add depth and emotion to their characters.
One of the first books I read on character development and particularly character arcs by a great Indie Author, K.M. Weiland. Weiland writes with great clarity on the subject of character arcs and how this aspect of character development links to story structure and plot. This book is part of K.M. Weiland’s ‘Helping Writers Become Authors’ series. She also has a great blog and podcast on the series. A must for new authors.
This book is part of K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors series in which Weiland explains the elements of story structure with numerous example. Most aspiring authors will find this book a useful addition to their writing arsenal. Don’t be put off by the emphasis on structure: even the most fervent pantser will find this book of immense help.
My daughter bought me this book for Christmas (I guess she thought my novel needed work). The book explores in detail the structural elements of a story and why stories work at a psychological and cultural level. Unlike many books on story and scriptwriting, there is less emphasis on providing a structural template and more emphasis on our human need for stories. John Yorke has a great narrative style and provides many examples of why stories work from current movies to great novels. Highly recommended for any writer.
One of the earliest books I read on story writing. It’s been around for ages but is still a great read. Again, this book explores story structure, but is less formulaic that say Sid Fields Save the Cat!
As writers, grammar and punctuation should all be gris to the mill, right? As in the clever title of Lynne Truss’s classic, even a misplaced comma can completely alter the meaning of a sentence. Yet, I’m always amazed how many aspiring writers give little consideration to these basic tools of the trade. Some of the author’s explanations can be a little long winded; however, it’s a book I always keep ready to hand.
It’s hard to build a house if you don’t have a plan. You’ll get there eventually, but it will take a while. The same with a novel: it helps to know beforehand where you want to end up before putting pen to prose. I read The Story Grid before starting my current novel The Omega Sanction. It made me think about the end game of my plot and the sort of audience I was writing for. The Omega Sanction is primarily a thriller, but it has plenty of mystery mix in with the plot. This book provided plenty of insights from an experienced editor and was instrumental in shaping my novel. A must read of budding authors for any genre.
You may know the fundamentals of how to write fiction. You may be more than competent in plot, structure and characters. But if your dialogue is dull it will drag the whole story down. On the other hand, if your dialogue is crisp and full of tension it immediately grabs the reader. And if that reader is an agent or editor, sharp dialogue will give them instant assurance that you know what you’re doing as a writer. Some great examples of the craft by James Scott Bell. A must read for all Indie Authors.