Once again, the blog took me by surprise – how does that happen? It’s on my calendar? So what to write?
I’ve had the wonderful Angela visiting this week. We will be putting her back on the plane today, but hopefully we will see her again. If the pleasure of my company doesn’t pull her back to Spain, then I’m sure the lure of Gencianna, my mare might do the job. Here at Writers Abroad, we all have writing as a common love, but it’s wonderful to find we have other things to share (especially if those things relate to horses.)
We also had the pleasure of lunch with Chris and her husband Rod, which was lovely (and to be repeated shortly.)
I had a great week. We talked about writing (not as much as we probably should have – and I’m sad—okay not very sad—to say I did not get my writing goals for the week done) and discussed some of my favourite how to write books. I’m personally a huge fan of how to write books, though I in no way follow any one method. I just find that they stimulate my brain into thinking along new pathways.
So I thought I’d list my five favourites—these are a little slanted toward structure as that’s what we’ve been discussing the most. I know not everyone likes to plot their novels, but I find a study of structure can also help you at the editing stage. So you have your first draft, you read it though and it’s great…mostly. There’s just something niggling that’s not quite right. Then identifying the beats of your novel (or searching for them and not finding them anywhere) can really help pinpoint problems and make the story stronger. So here goes…
Larry Brook’s Story Engineering – this is probably my favourite at the moment. There is so much information and the structure makes almost perfect sense to me (And I love the way he gives the protagonist a name in each of the four parts; the Orphan, The Wanderer, the Warrior and the Martyr.)
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler – this is based on the heroes Journey and “explores the powerful relationship between mythology and storytelling”. It’s fascinating even if you don’t write.
Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. This is actually for screen writing, but works equally well for novels, particularly thriller/mystery types.
Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books Book 1) by Gwen Hayes – for anyone trying to write romance. This is short and sweet and totally nails it!
And finally, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain. This isn’t just structure, it’s everything, and is one of the best books on writing I’ve ever read. It was also first published in 1965 which makes it almost as old as me and shows that fundamentals do not change.
So that's my current five favourite how to write books. Can you let me know your personal favourite (I recently got an Amazon voucher for my birthday) and I can maybe try a few new ones?