Hatrack River Writers Workshop discussion

books on writing that give real techniques to utilize in story composition and execution

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message 1: by arriki (last edited Feb 06, 2009 03:31PM) (new)

arriki | 5 comments I mean writing texts that are more than inspirational tales of how their author did/does it.

Card's book on character and point of view is a good one. Jack Bickham's SCENE AND STRUCTURE is another.

I found a lot of useful insights in BETWEEN THE LINES (by Jessica Morrell) and in THE THIRD ACT (by Drew Yanno) as well Robert McKee's STORY. If you're having any problems with dialogue, read the chapter on "beats" in SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Rennie Browne and Dave King.

I find that the screenwriting texts are more interested in how stories are structured than the plain writing texts. Just a generalization from my own experience with writing books. It may not even by true.

So what have you found especially helpful?

message 2: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 1 comments Mod
Rust Hills' WRITING IN GENERAL AND THE SHORT STORY IN PARTICULAR really made a difference for me.

I think Noah Lukeman's FIRST FIVE PAGES is also a great guide for writers trying to improve their work.

Thomas McCormack's FICTION EDITOR has some great insights into editing and rewriting approaches.

message 3: by Debbie (last edited Feb 11, 2009 09:55AM) (new)

Debbie (deborahw) | 2 comments I've read a lot of writing texts and found the following most helpful:

SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Rennie Browne and Dave King.


THE COMPLETE HANDBOOK OF NOVEL WRITING by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron, and the Editors of Writer's Digest


I found Nancy Lamb's book so helpful that I've been considering buying her latest book, "The Art And Craft Of Storytelling." I've also heard good things about "Manuscript Makeover" by Elizabeth Lyon. Has anyone here read either of these? I have the feeling there really isn't much new in either of these that I haven't read somewhere else first.

message 4: by arriki (new)

arriki | 5 comments I really must recommend THE 3RD ACT by Drew Yanno.

Yes, it IS a screenwriting text, but it's not about camera angles or pitches. It's about how the story -- and this applies to novels and shorter stories equally well -- ends in a satisfying way. The book goes into depth on the subject, pointing out both the how and the whys writers can make the ends fulfill audience expectations. They can leave with a feeling of completeness.

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