Friday, December 18, 2015

Now, a little something for you



All this week we've been talking about gifts for other people. Now, it's time to talk about you. Yes YOU. Right there. I'm looking at YOU right now



You look good enough to eat.
Aren't you glad I went vegetarian?


Enough about me
Now, back to you.

You're a writer.

You may be wondering if you can call yourself that if you're not published, haven't sent a query, haven't had a book deal, haven't won the Pulitzer...

Wonder no longer.
Yes you can.

You're a writer if you string sentences together on a regular basis and you want to get better at it. The difference between people who write and writers is how much you think about craft.

And right now I can see you saying "ME! ME! I do! I do!"
(See, I told you I can see you!)

So, this holiday season, treat yourself to a great new craft book. Buy it for yourself. Don't wait for someone to give it to you, or for when you have an extra $20 lying around. Invest in yourself. Invest in your craft. You really do deserve it.

There are some terrific craft books out there, and I'm sure the commenters will have suggestions.

Here's the one I'm giving to people this year: Spellbinding Sentences.




It comes with a pretty nice blurb:
I hope young writers find this book and profit from it! I give it the Vulcan salute--"Live long and prosper!"
--Ursula K. Le Guin




64 comments:

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Writers must always and often INVEST in books they keep close and not on a shelf. Refer to them, if only to remind yourself that yes me dear, you are a writer.
It is money you must spend.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT by Gary Provost

Out of print and may be hard to find. Search. If the only copy you can find is old and used and falling apart, buy it anyway.

It will help you write words that READ like the writing which you are trying to achieve.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

If Ursula K. LeGuin blurbs it, I'm in! I still have the ratty 70's Earthsea paperbacks that I begged off my aunt after I burrowed through her Tolkein collection.

I'll almost certainly pick this up, well, today. This week.

I actually sort of offended somebody at one of my writing workshops once when I was like "If you want to be a writer, you write." and she was like "I haven't written in years but I consider myself a writer." If she'd been a stranger, she probably would've been offended, I guess, but she's one of my "library friends" (i.e., people I like and would socialize with, situation permitting, outside of my workplace, but the situation has never yet permitted).

Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and Stephen King's On Writing are the two writing books I've revisited several times over the years.

MB Owen said...

Wasn't JR in marketing? These last posts have proven it--I think I purchased all of them as gifts. Now for mine. Thank you.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Adding this one to my list!

BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert is a recent read of mine and now has a permanent home on my bookshelf. It applies to writing and living a creative life in general.

Kitty said...

The sharks agree, Steve was delicious :)

Donnaeve said...

There's nothing better IMO than to learn about a new craft book by someone in the industry.

Stand by.

Okay, I'm back. I love Amazon Prime. (will be here by Dec 21st.)

Since 2N's and Jen already mentioned the books I would have suggested (especially BIRD BY BIRD), then, if you haven't already, you must go and get FOREST FOR THE TREES by Betsy Lerner.

I can't wait to get my Christmas present to ME!

Donnaeve said...

Oh, and I just finished reading comments from yesterday's post. (been busy baking pound cakes left and right. Can you imagine...there's a WHOLE POUND of butter in one cake??? I know, I know, hello, earth to Donna - it's called a POUND cake, but holy all that is moley. (?) )

Anywho - 2N's you made me bust out laughing! "melted wax candle..."

Lisa Bodenheim said...

This looks great. I'm due for another book on the craft of writing.

Now, back to work.

SiSi said...

Spellbinding Sentences sounds perfect.

In addition to the other books mentioned, I recommend BEGINNINGS, MIDDLES, AND ENDS by Nancy Kress. I also love my tattered copy of THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by Strunk and White.

(Apparently I don't have to worry about over-italicizing here since I can't figure out how to do it!)

Colin Smith said...

The noise from the chicken house woke me instantly. When I cracked open the door, I heard the distinctive click of a rifle being cocked.

“Hold it! One more step—hen gets it.”

I felt my heart sinking. The writing was on the wall for Belle, her eyes staring into the barrels, but unwilling to part with her precious eggs.

Suddenly, the room filled with clucks and clicks, as every bird in the house pulled a gun. Even Belle had a Glock aimed at the intruder’s forehead.

He dropped his rifle and ran for the door, tail between his legs.


Sorry, it's Friday and I couldn't resist. :)

Lucie Witt said...

**adds book to Amazon cart**

I recently bought myself a few craft books for Christmas! I bought the previously recommended Thinking Like Your Editor (really excellent) and Paper Hearts by Beth Revis (haven't started yet but seems good). Chuck Wendig's blog/books are always a favorite. I've also enjoyed Walter Mosley's The Year You Write Your Novel.

Lucie Witt said...

One more - I don't even write memoir but enjoyed The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr (I basically read any craft books I come across - all the good ones have something I can use regardless of genre focus).

Karen McCoy said...

Ooh, definitely need this book. "Live long and prosper" indeed--and a beautiful sentiment on the day that Star Wars comes out!

These are some books that have proven helpful for me:

Rock Your Plot by Cathy Yeardley

The Art of Character by David Corbitt

Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass

GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Debra Dixon


Janet's right--the force is within all of us.

Jenny C said...

Thanks for the rec, Janet! Will order from my local Indie TODAY!

BJ Muntain said...

I've read quite a few craft books, including the one Colin mentions, Stephen King's On Writing. I've currently got Chuck Wendig's The Kick-Ass Writer to read.

I understand that Don Maass's books - especially Writing the Break-Out Novel and the workbook for same - are based on/similar to his classes, and his classes are great for getting you to really think about your character, his motivation, about plot points and slow parts of the novel. I haven't had a chance to get one of those yet, but I've been told they're as great as his classes.

I also took a master class from James Scott Bell one year at Surrey, and I really like his teaching style. I've found his Plot & Structure to be useful, and I've also got his Art of War for Writers to read.

The books I tend to go back to most, though, are style guides. Yes, I read style guides for fun. I'm that much of a grammar nerd. I've got Canadian Press Style, Editing Canadian English, Guide to Canadian English Usage, and the Canadian Oxford Dictionary by my desk all the time. I've got the AP Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style in another room. These were probably the best investment in my writing. I bought the Canadian ones to use at work - and I do still use them - and the others just to learn the nuances of the American style.

Beth said...

I am going to have to read this comment section closely and add all of these titles to my wish list.

Lately, I've been reading Verlyn Klinkenborg's SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING. I stumbled on it in the bookstore, and I couldn't be happier. It's a quietly inspirational text, and I foresee many, many rereadings.

CED said...

Ooh, I've been looking for a craft book that focuses on sentence construction. Will have to check this one out. Thanks!

The craft books I particularly like are Bird by Bird and On Writing, both mentioned above. One of my favorites that doesn't seem to get much mention is Damon Knight's Creating Short Fiction, which is applicable to longer works also. I adore Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer, but it might be too elementary for this crowd.

Not exactly a craft book, but Gene Wolfe's Castle of Days gives some insight into the inner workings of his mind. Oh man, if only I could write like Wolfe.

And finally, two notes: it looks like 2N's recommendation Make Every Word Count is available on Kindle (and used copies are floating around Amazon), and there's a Story Bundle where you can get 25 craft books for $25, available until the end of the month. Disclaimer: I've read nothing referenced in this paragraph, though I plan to.

And now I'll show myself to Carkoon for being too long and using too many italics.

Colin Smith said...

CED: My sources back on Carkoon inform me that Carkoon University is opening a Department of Creative Italicization where they train writers how to use italics in the most obnoxious ways. You'll have to ask where it is, though. It seems the sign posts keep falling over.

CED said...

Colin: where do I send my application? And do they have a minor in bold studies?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin is correct. If you happen to be in Carkoon (it's quiet here now that Colin and Lynn are in the slush pile beyond Carkoon), and you have exhausted all the fine recommendations for writers made by the folks here, you can take course Colin mentioned on Italics which is pre-requisite to Using Exclamation Points !!! and Comic San Serif to Great Effect in Fiction. That sign has been bitten in half. No idea why.

Colin Smith said...

CED: I met the Bold Studies professor once. He also lectures on Effective Captialization. I don't think my ears have ever been the same since.

Janet Reid said...

you guyz seriously crack me up.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin, is that the professor with the lisp that spits every time you ask him about well... You? Or is that the Things That Rhyme With Uterus Studies professor? I get them all confused.

Colin Smith said...

EM: I only went to the CU campus a few times on assignment from Fuzzy Print, but I do recall a gentleman with some kind of expectoratory issue--I thought he was a camel at first. But the TTRWUS prof? I'll never forget him. I think he was the one that introduced me to sentient dongles. Conceptually, I mean. Not literally... :\

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Colin Library CEO!

I've added this to my to be bought list. The section on rhythm looks like what I need.

I love Donald Maas' The Fire in Fiction, and Editor-Proof Your Writing by Don McNair.

Shoot Your Novel by C.S Lakin explains cinematic techniques for fiction, especially how each scene must have a high point and all the possible visual angles. For example how close ups are all about the details enhance theme. Alternating between long shots, full shots, moving shots and all kinds of other shots strengthen a work and why, what they achieve.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Sentient dongles - where would we be without them?

Colin, you are my muse. Laughing so hard tears are coming out of my eyes. Sentient dongles- there has to be an award winning flash fiction story there.

Adib Khorram said...

My favorite book on writing is STORY by Robert McKee. It's technically about screenwriting, but the lessons it imparts are pretty universal.

And for the nitty-grittier aspects of the craft, I re-read EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES by Lynne Truss nearly every year, because it satisfies my inner stickler and my funnybone at the same time.

SPELLBINDING SENTENCES sounds excellent. If my windshield hadn't developed a giant crack on the way to work this morning (thanks, thermal shock!) I would order it right now.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Janet,

Thanks so much.

I'm currently reading WRITING THE BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL by Al Zuckerman. So far it's pretty good.

I'm a huge fan, think Jabba the Hutt huge, of Donald Maass books. WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL and the workbook were great. I'm reading Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling now.

I ordered The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expressionbecause it was highly recommended by some friends.

The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon is my favorite grammar book, but I also have STRUNK AND WHITE. THE RINEHART HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS is also really good, but the Vampire one is entertaining as well as a good guide.

(Italics are on page 181 of Rinehart, Colin.)

I like all of Gordon's writing books.

I highly recommend all of Gary Provost's books.

If you can't take an online class from Margie Lawson, the lesson packets are wonderful. My first one was Empowering Characters' Emotions. It's really great because it also includes the EDITS system. Deep Editing is also very good, but honestly, I have all but two of them and they are wonderful. If you get a chance to take a class from her, do it.

I also have several dictionaries and thesauri. I know I can look stuff up online, but I like the physical copies.

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."--Mark Twain

I have a shelf full of books on craft. My intimate bookcases, the ones by or on the desk, are filled with research books aside from one shelf of fiction I'm currently working on, one shelf of writing books, and one shelf of cookbooks.

Some of the books on writing are purely mechanics. Some are by writers about the craft. All of them deserve a close look from time to time as different things are needed at different times. Without tossing in a humorous, if true, book on writing we may starve our creative self. If we start taking ourselves and writing far too seriously we may fall into the trap of feeling we are in school.

I asked both Chris Humphreys and Jack Whyte at Surrey if they had any books on the craft of writing or planned to write any. Chris said, "No, and I don't think you need any. If you listen to too much different advice, you're going to screw with your voice." Jack repeated that almost verbatim.

I think we have to keep this in mind as well and be careful of what we use to shape our writing. I have a few dozen other writing books I bought when I belonged to the Writer's Digest book club. Many are pretty good, but some directly contradict each other. We have to be careful to use what advances us and learn to ignore that which doesn't.

Fiction also needs to be close by. Reading is like priming the creative pump. You have to put something back into the well.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Sorry about the long-winded post. It sounds, on second thought, egotistical to say I don't need books on craft. I'm obviously still reading and learning from them. I was going to delete the post, but I'm too lazy to redo all those links. Their point was, and I hope I got this through, to be careful about what we put in our minds. Not all writing advice is good for all writers. Some will demand Spartan writing while others strive for literary luxe. Everyone has to find that nugget that fits in their pocket.

Donna,

I love that you are making pound cakes. They are wonderful. I used to make a lemon pound cake that you pour the glaze into the pan while the cake is still hot so it melts into the cake. I also have somewhere a recipe for a chocolate pound cake that is luscious. I add quite a bit of almond extract to give it a different hint of flavor.

Colin,

I hope you get something special for Christmas.

Andrea van der Wilt said...

Recommended by the shark and Ursula Le Guin... sounds like a book I need :-)

Jerry said...

They’ve been around for a long time, but just about any of Lawrence Block’s books arrowroot reading; I think I saw on Facebook that Writing the Novel is coming out again.

And I second the recommendation of Stephen King’s book.

Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing is inspirational, too.

For much more nuts-and-bolts, Orson Scott Card’s Characters & Viewpoint is useful.

Jerry said...

Autocorrect is getting stranger and stranger. Just about any of Lawrence Block’s books are worth reading.

Colin Smith said...

Julie--I just did: E.M.'s comment. :D

Donnaeve said...

Oooo, Julie, might want that luscious (both actually, lemon, chocolate, coconut, it doesn't matter, if part of the recipe means "pound cake," I'm all in.)

The chocolate ones I make come out a light brown color - sooooo good! There are no bad pound cakes!

As to the craft of writing and the offerings at KU in bold studies or "creative italics", well we've just got to include a class in the ever popular Persistent Prologues, don't we? Yes? No?

And while we're discussing course curriculum, we might as well throw in a class about those effervescent ellipses.

:)

I like sentient dongles better than sentient pe***es.

Who was the commenter who threw the original one out a while back???

Colin Smith said...

Donna: The Carkoon University brochure has a blurb about the Persistent Prologues class... or at least an introduction to the blurb. It was about 20 pages long. And it was followed by a 10 page pre-introduction, and then a 30 page introductory pre-introduction. It's a small class--no-one actually knows what it's about. :)

Someone was throwing sentient dongles? Or ding-dongs? Or whatnots??

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Oh poor me. I suffer from italic-non-correctness. Italicizing is like eating Donna's pound cake, too much, and bloat becomes you.

But here, I have italicis-dysfunctionis. Like SiSi I can't figure out how to italicize for Reiders.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Every Christmas I make gingerbread cookies. Every year I add a new shape. i think I need a dongle. Colin, can you recommend one? I've no idea what they look like.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Did you know that Colin italicized his dongle? It slants.

CED said...

Donna, what's wrong with sentient peaches? Other than their screams when you turn them into cobbler?

I thought I was in the Persistent Prologues class, but it turned out to be only a preview.

I did take the Apostrophe's Are Alway's Correct class, though. Life-changer.

John Frain said...

Good reason to enroll in the Persistent Prologue class is they never get around to having a final. You know, if you're one a them test anxiety kind of people.

I might sign up for a correspondence course at CU just to get the curriculum guide every semester. That sounds like pretty good reading on craft. But first, I'm ordering anything that comes with a recommendation from Ursula K. Le Guin and Janet Reid.

Colin Smith said...

Angie: Regardless of what certain vivid imaginations might conjure (and given this is largely a group of writers, those imaginations are exceptionally vivid), a dongle is a term for any electronic peripheral. Most commonly, it is used of USB flash drives. So, you could make gingerbread cookies in the shape of flash drives and invite people to chomp on your dongles.

What's funny about that?

stacy said...

I took Les Edgerton's class on writing and I was amazed at the talent from him and the other students. If you do it, be ready to put the time in and check your ego at the door. And yet, it was still a lot of fun and I "met" some really great people I can't wait to meet IRL. (You can find him on Blogger at http://lesedgertononwriting.blogspot.com/ .) He's also got some good books on writing--HOOKED and

I think I've mentioned this before, but I've also read and used THE STORY GRID by Shawn Coyne. It's big and fairly technical (um, there are some spreadsheets for tracking purposes), but it's the only book I've ever read that addresses EDITING story (as opposed to prose)--which is the main thing I have struggled with in my writing. Had more than a few forehead smacking moments regarding things I knew but didn't realize I knew. It's been so great for analysis. I definitely feel like I can pinpoint what's wrong with my stories much more accurately and quickly now. You can find it on the Black Irish Books website at http://shop.blackirishbooks.com/. (Apparently they're having some great sale right now.)

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Well, I tried to delete my first comment, but couldn't. Tip, Julie, if it's too long to delete it's far too long.

Donna,

I will post recipes on my blog soon. I have some recipes for pie, pecan pie with bourbon cream, buttermilk pie, and peanut butter pie, as well as no fail pie crust, but only rodeo cake up. What the heck is wrong with me?

I just read a bit of SPELLBINDING SENTENCES on Amazon and this stood out to me: "'Just keep writing. Eventually you'll get better.' This simply isn't true."

That is absolutely correct. One thing I loved about the Sankey rodeo schools, and I'm sure they all do it, is they video tape each ride so the student can watch it and the coaches can tell them how to improve next time. It sets it in the student's mind what they need to watch for.

Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Colin Smith said...

stacy's links:

http://lesedgertononwriting.blogspot.com/

http://shop.blackirishbooks.com/

Donnaeve said...

Ah CED, so that's what I've heard when making cobbler. And here I thought all that moaning was b/c it was so good.

"Italicizing is like eating Donna's pound cake, too much, and bloat becomes you."

2Ns - bloat is necessary at this time of year.

Julie - I'll be on the lookout for them! I just got a new pecan pie recipe I can't wait to try, and the one you have with bourbon cream also sounds divine. I ate pecan pie years ago, and then promptly got a stomach virus the next day. I haven't eaten it in 20 years, so the new recipe sent to me recently was intended to convert me back into loving it again. You can't be from the South and not love pecan pie!

Ha, Colin - yeah, throwing them around is great fun! You should try sometime! Actually, I found our culprit,(ahem, Ms. Weathers) and excuse me, QOTKU, but guess what!!! It's ON TOPIC! TA DA!

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2015/01/query-question-fonts-for-backstory.html

I am snort laughing again at the comments in the above post from earlier this year.

stacy said...

Thanks very much, Colin!

Colin Smith said...

Donna's dongle of a link: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2015/01/query-question-fonts-for-backstory.html

Colin Smith said...

Donna: *sigh*--that was back when we were looking forward to Bouchercon. Little did we--or at least I--know how good it would be. :)

Jearl Rugh said...

I'm rereading Noah Lukeman's "The First Five Pages." It's written from an agent's perspective on what mistakes writers make which move their submissions from the chum bucket to deep six. It's a bit dated (2000), and some of the submission practices have changed as this century and technology have advanced. However, the principles of good writing are still valid (I think).

I am looking to gift myself something, though, and "Spellbinding Sentences" just moved to the top of the list.

(Sorry for the quotes. I couldn't get the html tags to work.)

stacy said...

Uggghh... I just saw one of my sentences is unfinished. Ah well. Fever.

Joseph Snoe said...

I start my Christmas shopping tonight; and plan to pick up "Spellbinding Sentences."

I ordered and received just yesterday three books on writing incli9d James Scott Bell‘s "Plot and Structure." I read his "Conflict and Suspense" book earlier this year and was tremendously impressed with his insights.

I also received yesterday Donald Maass’s "The Fire in Fiction," and Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb’s "Your First Novel."

Next step: Absorb and execute.

Colin Smith said...

"Absorb and execute"

Mmm... sounds like something out of a horror novel... eeek!

Dena Pawling said...


Hey Donnaeve - I bought my Amazon Prime membership last September when it was discounted. I noticed this book Spellbinding Sentences qualified for the Kindle Unlimited program, and stupidly enough I thought my Prime membership covered it but after 30 frustrating minutes and a call to Amazon Customer Service, I just learned my Prime membership does NOT cover the borrowing program. GGRRRRRRR I told the customer service rep ["please give us another chance to help you", the website page lied] that I didn't expect her to help me but I wanted to register my extreme dissatisfaction with Amazon and its deceptive advertising, and I would most likely not be renewing my Prime membership. As expected, she was less than helpful and had even less personality. No, I didn't yell at her. I was very professional and restrained. Her lack of interest was palpable. It's likely my call inconveniently interrupted the polishing of her fingernails.

I think I'll find another source to give my book money to.

Merry Christmas LOL

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Sigh. I ordered SPELLBINDING SENTENCES. Then I noticed some more books I needed. Buying a book is never as simple as buying a book. They give you that take me home look and you say just one more until you've got the whole litter loaded up.

Colin Smith said...

Dena: Do you own a Kindle? As I recall, that's the key, even if you have Prime. If you only have a Kindle app on your mobile device (as I do), then you don't get the benefit of borrowing ebooks. You have to have a physical Kindle device. It's not a big deal to me since I don't read a lot of ebooks. But I can understand your frustration.

Joseph Snoe said...

I bought "Spellbinding Sentences." Hope it pays off. While waiting for my hamburger at Five Guys I read the foreward and one randomly chosen paragraph. The paragraph was on the use of sentence fragments. As I drove out of the parking deck, I noted the irony that after worrying all these years I did not have the vocabulary to be a successful writer, my problem may be I write too many complete sentences. Ugh. Sentence fragments, like I write in emails, work better. Like my second “sentence” above. Or this one.

For my twenty-something nephew who wanted "cools stuff" I bought Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps with a mandatory magnifying glass. Cool stuff, dude.

And for me The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus (Yeah, Julie, it had that embrace me print).

Colin, now that you mention it, "Absorb and Execute" could be a great book title if I had a story to go with it.

James Ticknor said...

As soon as I finish POWERFUL WRITING SKILLS by Richard Anderson, I will. I just devoured YOU ARE A WRITER (SO START ACTING LIKE ONE) by Jeff Goins.

Dena Pawling said...


Colin - I wouldn't be nearly so annoyed if the customer service rep would have done even ONE of the following things - (1) simply acknowledge my frustration, (2) apologize for my inconvenience, (3) offer to relay my comments to higher-ups, (4) show any concern whatsoever, or even (5) wish me a Merry Christmas. Even a police officer, after writing you a traffic ticket, will say "have a better day." This person was presumably being paid, but I have doubts she even heard a word I said. My comment about polishing her nails was not an exaggeration.

Customer service is generally a thankless job, but I wasn't yelling at her or blaming her or swearing at her or doing any of the nasty things some customers will do, and she didn't even PRETEND to care. I think that's what annoyed me most.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Joseph,

"As I drove out of the parking deck, I noted the irony that after worrying all these years I did not have the vocabulary to be a successful writer, my problem may be I write too many complete sentences. Ugh. Sentence fragments, like I write in emails, work better. Like my second “sentence” above. Or this one."

Yes, one of those sentence fragments was what got Stud Duck in a turmoil.

I am not going to any more book sites. I refrained from buying the How to Know Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You Calendarfor my son, but probably only because I already bought him The World's Best Father Calendar.

Why did Amazon even recommend the cat calendar?

No. More. Books.

John Frain said...

Joseph,

"Absorb and Execute" could be a great book title if I had a story to go with it.

You're already 3% toward your goal. Ninety-seven more words, and you got yourself a story. Especially for a Friday night.

Despite relishing what Julie said about not books about craft, I just snagged Spellbinding Sentences with a side order of Cheryl Strayed to go.

I admire the flash fiction entries served with a spellbinding sentence. That's my way of saying I'm jealous that y'all can write prose with such poetry.

Good weekend, all. I shall edit ferociously because I don't have to work Saturday and there is no flash entry to battle through.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

John,

"Despite relishing what Julie said about not books about craft, I just snagged Spellbinding Sentences with a side order of Cheryl Strayed to go."

I tried to go back and delete that post because it was so poorly worded and couldn't. I've ordered SPELLBINDING SENTENCES and a few others since Surrey. The context of the conversation was to be careful about reading craft books that might affect your voice.

I probably have nearly a dozen craft books written by authors who exhort ways aspiring writers can write like them. It's fine to study how other writers do what they do, but we can only be a pale imitation of another writer. Each writer out there has something unique to offer. They have their own stories and voice.

That's one reason I've been around Books and Writers for umpteen years. Diana Gabaldon and other successfully published authors will put up excerpts and dissect them, showing people how a certain thing is accomplished. The magic is when an author can show someone how they do things to help the aspiring writer strengthen their own voice, not just imitate what they do.

That's why places like this where we can get sound recommendations on books and such are so important.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Stacey, I've seen guest posts by Les Edgerton on Writers In The Storm blog. He's amazing. I'd love to leave my ego at the door for a class with him. Right now I'm saving for a workshop with Christopher Vogler who'll be in town this March.

Cher Colin, I was being peachy. I do know what a dongle is, but thank you for the wonderful explanation. Oh, and I'm curious, does Carkoon have Christmas muzak?

Julie, I bought the Kindle edition of the Emotion Thesaurus. It has hyperlinks. Makes it easy to reference.

Another book which makes me feel geeky to mention is Ann Longknife's The Art Of Styling Sentences. It teaches deliberate craftsmanship of 20 sentence patterns.

stacy said...

That sounds wonderful, Angie. I haven't gotten his book yet, but I plan to invest in that one very soon. I'd love to hear how his workshop went. Happy writing!