Monday, October 8, 2012

Rules of writing- Aargh!

One thing we discussed at our writing group was the craft of writing, and how important it is to follow the rules, especially as a first time novelist. I've learned most from other writers, such as avoiding adverbs, POV (that one I'm finding hard!), MC can't look in a mirror reflectively, don't start out in a car or plane (Oops), etc., etc.

I know a lot of people attend seminars, read books on the craft, and have mentors who help them through the process. What I want to know is what has helped you the most? Any books you recommend? I've looked at the shelves of books at B&N and get overwhelmed. I'm going to try a writing schedule too, but that one is hard because my life is crazy.

Okay, then I'm going to shamelessly plug my kids' school fundraiser because they're hoping for some cheesy prizes. This is one of the items, plush snowballs for an indoor fight. How cute is that? The deadline is this Wed., Oct 10th.

All you have to do is shop online at www.charlestonwrap.com and enter 532634 at the checkout so they get credit. The items will ship directly to you. Don't feel obligated, believe me I know money's tight these days, but if you can you'll make their day!

Have a great week!

28 comments:

  1. Save the Cat is my favorite writing book. It's for screenwriters, but the fifteen beats apply to novels as well.

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    1. This is great, I'll check it out. Thanks!

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  2. Don't start off the story in a car or plane? Never heard that one. And, since you went out on a limb to plug your kids fundraiser, I'll click over there and get something. And, no, you didn't make me feel obligated. :)

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    1. I don't know where I read the car or plane thing, but I've read books that started there and it didn't bother me. Maybe someone's just making these rules to drive us crazy. And thank you for checking out the fundraiser! You're awesome :)

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    2. It's not a hard fast rule, it's just that a lot of new writers start there and agents get very tired of seeing it. Not to mention that usually on a plane or car ride all the MC is doing is thinking so it's a very introspective beginning.

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  3. Taking advanced courses online is what I did to get the basics fresh in my head again, and it provided a one-on-one experience with a published author. Also attended master class at a writing conference with top lit agent. I read books by Don Maass (excellent) and Joseph Bell (also very good).

    Just a few suggestions. By taking classes, I met my crit partner, so there are some side benefits.

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    1. I'll have to check out those authors. I'm wondering where you found the online courses and if they were expensive. My goal is to attend a local conference with tons of seminars next year. Hopefully I'll have my WIP in shape by then.

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  4. The way I learn best is reading. Reading. And reading some more. But not craft books. Novels. And I don't study the way authors have created characters or how they've developed plot or the story's voice. I read as a reader. In doing this, writing seeps into me.

    Just like anything, however, each person finds their path a different way.

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    1. That's really all I've ever done, but you also have an English degree. I don't.

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  5. I'm going to agree with Barbara--I really learned the most by reading. And then, but writing. My critique group has also been the best help. Reading books about writing never cemented the rules like actually "doing" the writing itself :)

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    1. True. You can't get better writing if you're not writing!

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  6. The things that have helped me the most is paying attention to what I read and my writers website. Honestly I would not be here without the support and help I've received from my writers website. (compuserve books and writers website)

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    1. That's not your blog? What are those websites and could you give me their URL's?

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  7. Cute snowballs! I like A Writer's Book of Days, although that's more inspiration with a few craft hints, and then I skim other titles on a regular basis for help with characterization, Emotion Thesaurus type stuff, and things like that.

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    1. That's the second time someone has mentioned the Emotion Thesaurus, which sounds perfect as a couple of beta readers have mentioned I need more of it in my writing. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I don't think there is one book on writing that is the all-in-one. You need to get books that help with both writing and storytelling. I'd say one of the best for storytelling is Wired for Story by Lisa Cron and Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.

    There are many for technical writing, more like short books, but a good one for conveying emotion well is The Emotion Thesaurus. It's only one aspect of writing, but it's really helpful anyway. Another good one to help with writing more directly would be Style that Sizzles & Pacing for Power.

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    1. This is so helpful! Thanks for the tips.

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  9. The craft is best learned by bullshit, age and experience. But man oh man do workshops help me as far as the encouragement and fellowship.

    Can't order, I'm in Manila.

    Cheers!

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    1. Okay, that would be a check, check, and a check. Everyone has said the same about connecting at workshops- it's my goal to attend some next year.

      And about ordering- understandable, and it's kind of girly stuff anyway.

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  10. One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day. It's pure genius. And they do everything your not supposed to do. Follow the rules (mostly) but do what feels right to you. The thing that's worked best for me is to write persistently for three years - I finally get the thing about controlling POV.

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    1. I LOVE Groundhog Day. It's a thought-provoking movie, in it's own silly way. The POV is slowly coming to me, but I'm still working on it.

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  11. Lots of bloggers/writers recommend Save The Cat (Alex did too), so I think I'm going to order it for my bookshelf.
    I'm on the opposite end of the globe so I can't order...

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    1. I'm so glad I did this post because now I know which books to check out. Glad it helped you out too.
      And thanks anyway- we did good!

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  12. Craft books are good but the best is to read in the genre you want to write. Read the latest books so you know what readers out there want. Emotional Thesaurus and Save the Cat has big reputation as must haves.

    Nas

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    1. Those books are on my to buy list for sure. I'm glad for the recommendations!

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  13. Late to the party, but I love talking books!

    I agree with everyone above who recommends SAVE THE CAT. Excellent book on plot and structure. I also really like Stephen King's ON WRITING. It's great, and entertaining. There's also Gotham Writing Workshop book called WRITING FICTION. Another great one that breaks down all parts of story-telling. I go back to these three over and over again.

    And yes, I'd also go along with read as much as you can, in your genre but also in other genres as well.

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    1. All the suggestions have been so helpful! Thanks for your input.

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