Monday, December 19, 2011

Learning the Craft of Writing

I first fell in love with writing when I was in elementary school. From then through high school I worked on finding my voice and learning the craft. Back then I read several books on writing, several of them stuck out in my mind and really helped me.

Now that I have come back to writing I am re-reading many of those books. I have also added many more to my 'To Be Read' list. I think that taking creative writing classes, reading books on writing, and of course - writing - are excellent ways to learn the craft.

So, I thought that I would share with you my old favorites and some new that hope will become favorites.

Books I have Read

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
This is an excellent resource for anyone who writes Science Fiction and/or Fantasy. And although geared to speculative genres - I think there are nuggets of good advice for all writers. If you write Science Fiction, Fantasy, or anything like unto - I suggest this book.

Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
Yes, I like Orson Scott Card. Plus he gives some excellent writing advice!
This book is for all fiction writers and it deals specifically with characters and viewpoint. This is a must read, in my opinion, for writers of all genres. Orson Scott Card helps you build compelling characters and 'preform' them powerfully on the page.

Writing the Short Story by Jack Bickham
Although the approach that Bickham sets out in this book is geared toward short story - it can be applied to novels. And there is a lot of good advice about writing in general. It is a very 'hands-on' program. And although I do not follow Bickham's exact approach - I have adapted many of his suggestions into my own writing routine. Another good book about writing.

The Writer's Idea Book and The Writer's Idea Workshop by Jack Heffron
The Idea Book is a plethora of writing prompts and exercises to get your creative writing juices flowing. And the workshop helps you craft your ideas into a story. Very excellent reads - and they are next up on my list to re-read as far as books on the craft go. Disclaimer: there is a section in this book that covers... intimate scenes. I skip over that section since I never write those kinds of scenes.

Books I Plan to Read

Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham
This book goes into more detail about Bickham's 'Scene-and-Sequel' plotting method meant to help with scene by scene outlining. I am looking forward to reading this book and it is next on my list to read.

Description by Monica Wood
This book covers everything about description from detail, plot, and style to word selection and point of view. Since all of these are areas I think that I could improve in - I am totally excited to read this book.

Plot by Ansen Dibell
Now I am not saying that plot is something I particularly struggle with. I mean - I can come up with ideas for plots, and sub-plots. And I am a planner which means I map, or outline my story before I begin writing. But plot is such an important part of writing that I think ti would be good to be always trying to improve.

Other Books

There are a lot of books out their about the craft. I found all of these either in my local library or on So, if you are interested in reading up on the craft - there are plenty out there for you to choose from.

Do you know any other good books on the craft? What would you suggest? Have you read any of the books I have mentioned here?


  1. This is my favorite:

    And I have really wanted to read the Writers Idea Book...

  2. me and craft books don't get along. I usually nod my head, "YEAH, I get it. I know I'm supposed to that and not this. yada yada." but it hardly translates in my writing until someone points it out to me. then I'm like, "oh, hohoho, I knew that..." I guess I'm a trial & error type of writer ;) so, long story short, I don't have any recs. sorry! <3

  3. I'm with Jessica - I've never really found a lot of interest in craft books. I've tried to read them, but I feel that creative writing should be more about the creativity of each different writing style and author.

    It's great that you got something out of those books!