Your Favorite Book on the Craft

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Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby dios4vida » 13 Feb 2012, 09:08

Hey Bransforumers!

A la Sommer's amazing "Best Advice to New Writers" thread (http://forums.nathanbransford.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4595) I thought it might be a good idea to get a centralized place where people can recommend their favorite "how to" books on this beast we call writing.

I'll start off the game with my all-time favorite - Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. (Man, I should be getting royalties with how often I've typed that sentence in the last few weeks!) He covers what he calls the Six Core Competencies needed to make a successful story - Concept, Character, Theme, Structure, Scene Execution, and Writing Voice. None of these were new to me, but the way Mr. Brooks delivers the material and illustrates his examples made it so much more accessible. I've always been a pantser - granted, I outlined as I went, but still - and he taught me some great ways to get the information I need to know in place while still enjoying the ride of not knowing exactly where to go. So never fear, pantsers! He won't (necessarily) turn you into a planner.

Okay folks, your turn!! What are the best books on writing out there?
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Beethovenfan » 13 Feb 2012, 09:38

I have two. Is it OK to post two? 'Cause I'm going to. ;)

I love Stephen King's ON WRITING, and Elmore Leonard's 10 RULES OF WRITING. I like King's because, not only is it informative, it's also pretty entertaining. I like Leonard's because it is short, to the point, and every rule means something.
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Sommer Leigh » 13 Feb 2012, 11:35

Great topic!

My favorite, the one that changed everything about the way I write, was Story Structure - Demystified by Larry Brooks. Best money I ever spent on a craft book.

I also like Story Engineering alot. I have a secret love affair with all things Larry Brooks.
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Falls Apart » 13 Feb 2012, 17:13

How Not to Write a Novel. That is all.
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Mira » 13 Feb 2012, 17:15

Great topic! I'll revisit this thread.

I've mentioned this one a million times, sorry if I'm boring folks, but if you are ever uncertain if you should be writing, or need inspiration, read this book:

If You Want To Write, but Brenda Ueland. Best book on writing I've ever read.

Here's the link to the Kindle version, $3.99:

http://www.amazon.com/If-You-Want-Write-ebook/dp/B0034KYUV8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1329178399&sr=8-4
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby trixie » 14 Feb 2012, 09:24

I'm going to answer for Margo and I because I'm fairly confident she'd agree with me on this one... (and if not, I'm guessing it's at least in her top 3)

Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel.

Buy it.
Read it.
Cry at the amount of work you have to do.
Then thank him for being so smart.
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Margo » 14 Feb 2012, 09:33

trixie wrote:I'm going to answer for Margo and I because I'm fairly confident she'd agree with me on this one... (and if not, I'm guessing it's at least in her top 3)

Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel.


LOL. It's #3 on my list. #1 is Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. #2 is Plot And Structure by James Scott Bell. He's one of Donald's clients, and his ideas are very much like Donald's, so those three books are an orgy of advice for people who want to get down into the deep deep working parts of fiction (especially successful commerical fiction). Not really for those who want to ad lib plot or fake their way through structure.

That is all.

*Maasskateer salute*
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Sommer Leigh » 14 Feb 2012, 09:40

Margo wrote:
trixie wrote:I'm going to answer for Margo and I because I'm fairly confident she'd agree with me on this one... (and if not, I'm guessing it's at least in her top 3)

Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel.


LOL. It's #3 on my list. #1 is Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. #2 is Plot And Structure by James Scott Bell. He's one of Donald's clients, and his ideas are very much like Donald's, so those three books are an orgy of advice for people who want to get down into the deep deep working parts of fiction (especially successful commerical fiction). Not really for those who want to ad lib plot or fake their way through structure.

That is all.

*Maasskateer salute*


I'm a big fan of the workbook too. *salute*
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby trixie » 14 Feb 2012, 09:40

LOL I knew it! Yes, the workbook might be better than the actual book because it's a hands-on, do it as you go kind of thing.

And I *really* need to get this James Scott Bell book. I know far too many people who recommend it.

*throws secret Maasskateer hand sign*
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Margo » 14 Feb 2012, 09:43

trixie wrote:*throws secret Maasskateer hand sign*


Yes, we are officially a gang now. A gang of writers. Watch your step, dawg, or you'll end up in our novels. (A bullet can kill you but humiliation by the written word lasts forever, n'mean, dawg?)
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Claudie » 14 Feb 2012, 10:09

Margo wrote:
trixie wrote:*throws secret Maasskateer hand sign*


Yes, we are officially a gang now. A gang of writers. Watch your step, dawg, or you'll end up in our novels. (A bullet can kill you but humiliation by the written word lasts forever, n'mean, dawg?)


Can I be a part of it? I know the salute, and I've read the Breakout Novel. Haven't touched the workbook yet, but it's definitely in the plans (which is #1 finish the current revision of WIP, #2 go through the Workbook's exercises + critiques, #3 let it rest and work on something else for a bit and #4 Rewrite/Edit.) No idea how long before I get to any of these.

Anyway, on books! Larry Brooks, JS Bell and Maass have all been named already, but I'd like to second/third these recommendations. And for a more line-by-line craft fun, I'd add Noah Lukeman's The Art and Craft of Punctuation. It won't teach you to write a great novel, but it's full of great advice on how to use punctuation to maximum effect and craft awesome sentences.

trixie: I can bring JS Bell to Vegas if you want to browse it. It'll give you a good idea of how valuable it is. :)
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Sanderling » 14 Feb 2012, 11:43

I've only ever read one, which is Stephen King's ON WRITING. But I thought it was great; I asked for it for Christmas a couple years ago because I liked it so much. Other than that, I've mostly read essays - some of the ones in the Writer's Market and the Canadian Writer's Market have been really helpful and insightful for me.
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Gypson » 14 Feb 2012, 16:27

I don't know about books, but I loooooooove Limyaael's Fantasy Rants! I gained so much insight on purposeful world building.
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Falls Apart » 14 Feb 2012, 17:25

^^Those are amazing :) I don't even write fantasy, and I find amazing advice there.
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Re: Your Favorite Book on the Craft

Postby Gypson » 14 Feb 2012, 18:53

Falls Apart wrote:^^Those are amazing :) I don't even write fantasy, and I find amazing advice there.


They really are! And hilarious, to boot.

World building is an overwhelming subject for me and Limyaael's advice has helped me out a ton. Working backwards (Such as, what is the clothing made from? Where does that material come from? Who produces it? Who pays the producers?) has been an invaluable approach.
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