How’s that for a provocative title? As Geroge Takei would say, oh, myyyyyy!
So here was week 12’s prompt:
QOTW 12: What Are Your Essentials?
You don’t need to own every book in the world, but there are some essentials that every writer should have on his or her shelf. Today, I want to know: What are your essentials? What are your go-to “read like a writer” resources?
Okay, and here I defect to another of my writerly mentors, K.M. Weiland. Kate wrote this post back in 2014: the ten commandments of reading like a writer. I’d start there. But then, I’d grab a paperback of Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics. You won’t really be able to get the most out of it with the ebook version.
Kate, in analysing and annotating Jane Eyre for WD, shows you how to read like a writer. And, she gives you worksheets and questions, and—well, let’s just say I learned a lot from this book 🙂 I reviewed it, too.
Another a-MA-zing (and yes, you heard the angels singing on that capitalized MA) resource is her Story Structure Database. In each entry, a different novel or movie is analyzed in terms of story structure. Most entries Kate writes herself, but some are submitted by readers. Treasure trove.
And that, my friends, is all you’ll ever need to help you dissect a story with your big, squishy, writer brain.
Essential writing craft books:
Anything by Donald Maass
Anything by Natalie Goldberg
Anything by Ursula K. Le Guin (she’s written a lot about writing—LURVE!)
All the Nail Your Novel books by Roz Morris
Outlining your Novel and Structuring your Novel, plus both workbooks by K.M. Weiland
Page After Page and Chapter After Chapter by Heather Sellers
Take Joy by Jane Yolen
On Writing by Stephen King
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron
Self-editing for Writers by Browne and King
The Artful Edit by Susan Bell
Sometimes the Magic Works by Terry Brooks
Adventures in the Screen Trade and What Lie did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman
Story by Robert McKee
I think I’d better stop there. I have to confess to being a writing craft book junkie. It’s half of my informal learning on the subject 🙂
As far as novels and stories that I read . . . egads, I have five shelves full in my office alone. You don’t want to know how many Rubbermaid tubs I have in my basement (cause I don’t have room for them anywhere else). And don’t get me started with ebooks.
In short, I read everything. Most of my reading will be in my chosen genre, but even so, I try to alternate YA and adult fantasy, and different sub-genres of fantasy. I read classics, historical fiction, the occasional mystery and even romance novels. I read literary novels, science fiction, and the occasional horror, though I can’t confess to loving that last. I read thrillers, though I don’t enjoy them as much as some of the other genres I read. I’ll read short stories, but again, they don’t tend to be my favourites, at least so far.
I try to learn something from everything I read.
I also do the nutty and read multiple books at once. I’ll even listen to them on Audible while I walk, or work at something non-noisy, like stripping and refinishing stuff. I usually have to pause for the sanding bits, though 😀
I can’t even list my favourite authors anymore without filling a page.
And since I read so much, I have to be selective about the books I review, because I’d really rather be working on my WIPs. You know, day job and all.
So that’s Mellie’s wild world of reading.
See y’all tomorrow! Have a lovely, warm summer night!