Friday, February 24, 2012

Do You Read Nonfiction for Writers?

If you look at my bookshelf, it is crowded with books about writing, from our own Michelle's McLean's witty and charming Essays and Term Papers...

The best book on essay writing. You'll actually ENJOY reading it!
...to how-to books more geared toward novelists specifically, like Hooked...

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
Goodreads
...and...

Writing the Breakout Novel
Goodreads
 ...and...

Revision: A Creative Approach to Writing and Rewriting Fiction
Goodreads
...and...

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing
Goodreads
...and MANY, many more.

Full disclosure: I have not read each of these in their entirety. Perhaps if I had, I'd be the next Beth Revis or Suzanne Collins. But alas, I can only get a few chapters into one of these inspiring books before the temptation to just start writing becomes too strong to suppress. 

Without fail, a dip into one of these books gets me impatient to try something. Beyond the great tips, these books offer something else -- fellowship. The authors are writers, and they're funny, witty, and creative in the way they present their nonfiction about fiction. 

Do you read nonfiction for writers? Can you get through a whole how-to book without getting distracted by your muse? 

What are your favorites?

10 comments:

  1. My favorite is The Writer's Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr. It has lots of useful tools and it's written in short tidbits instead of long-winded paragraphs.

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  2. Ooh, I love tidbits! Thanks for the rec!

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  3. I read writing books many years ago before the Internet became saturated with writing advice. I still have all my books, though. And my favorite, which I read from cover to cover, is The Writer's Digest Handbook of Novel Writing. I read it AFTER I drafted my first novel, and it helped me, immensely, with revisions.

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  4. One of my favorites is CHEEK BY JOWL by Ursula Le Guin. This is a book of essays on fantasy writing. Truly excellent. I also like her book on the craft of writing: STEERING THE CRAFT.

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  5. I have Hooked and The Breakout Novel on my desk! I love to read how-to books for writers. I feel like there's always more I can be doing, more I can be learning! I also like Thanks, But This Isn't For Us by Jessica Page Morrell. Helpful stuff! :)

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  6. I have a few too - and I like to dip into them to get hints when I'm having one of those days! :)

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  7. One that I recently received and am loving is PLOT WHISPERER by Marth Alderson. Thanks for sharing yours. Oh and FIRE IN FICTION is another.

    But-like you-I often am off and writing before finishing the actual reading of the full book.

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  8. I have Donald Maas' new one, The Breakout Novelist. REALLY good. I love Writer Digest's line of books, breaking down the different genres, characters & viewpoint, and more.

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  9. I do read some of them but mainly refer to them occasionally. My favourite of all time is 'On Writing' by Stephen King and the one I'm currently working my way through is 'Self-Editing for Fiction Writers' by Browne and King.

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  10. I really like Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson.

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