One aspect of this education is reading books about writing. There are many, many good books out there about the craft. Some are generic for all writers. A few of my favorites are:
Writing Down The Bones (Freeing the Writer Within) by Natalie Goldberg
Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
On Writing by Stephen King
Writing Tools (50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer) by Roy Peter Clark
Sally Stuart’s Guide to Getting Published
Writers On Writing (Top Christian Authors Share Their Secrets for Getting Published) Edited by James N. Watkins
Unleashing The Writer Within by Cecil Murphey
Then there are books about writing in a specific genre. In my case, I read books on writing fiction/novels. Here are just a few:
Writing the Block Buster Novel by Albert Zuckerman
The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing (containing contributions from various authors)
A Novel Idea (Best Advice On Writing Inspirational Fiction) contributions from best-selling authors
As writers we must continue reading. Not only books about the craft, but we should be reading books in our genre as well. Explore how best-selling authors start their stories, build their plots, describe their characters and scenes.
Education never ends.
I am currently reading The Writer’s Journey – Mythic Structure For Writers by Christopher Vogler. I am not even half way through it and I am learning so much. In fact, from what I’ve learned so far I am totally re-writing the beginning of my novel. Some of the material I’ve written in my first draft of chapters one through three I will still be able to use, but in a different way. I am learning how to make my writing exciting so it grabs the reader in the first paragraph and holds them throughout the book.
This book is divided into two books:
Book One – Mapping the Journey. It describes all the Archetypes of characters in mythological writings: the Hero, Mentor, Threshold Guardian, Herald, Shapeshifter, Shadow, Ally, Trickster. You might not use all these archetypes in your writing. Sometimes the essence of the archetypes might be felt inside the Hero instead of being a separate character. Or two or more archetypes could be found in one character at different times in the story.
Book Two – Stages of the Journey. This deals with building your plot. Your Hero starts in the Ordinary World and gets the Call to Adventure. Then it tells how he/she makes it through the journey and returns back to the Ordinary World again.
Christopher Vogler uses several movie references to demonstrate what he means about the various aspects of the characters and plot building. I highly recommend this book for writers of fiction.
Have any of you read other books on the craft that you have found helpful? Please share. The more we know what’s available, the more we will learn, the better we will write.