William Noble’s “Make That Scene”

Helpful, Informative and packed with …

Although not a Writers’ Digest book (my edition is published by Erikson), it reads like one. Like all Writers’ Digest books, this is a good primer+ for writers on the road to authorhood. There were some definite takeaways, some things I stopped to consider (I’m happy when a book makes me think. It means it’s teaching and I’m learning). Noble does a good job with examples (it seems all these Writers’ Digest type books pull from the same sources for examples).

It’s a good afternoon read for working writers, a good week long read for those starting the path. Both will find the exercises worthy, helpful and informative.

 
The book has the sense of being based on a undergrad or advanced placement class Noble taught. There’s a few blocks where he writes about discussions with students in a classroom setting. One nice element was Noble sharing where his suggestions weren’t used and the writing worked better for it.


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Paul Darcy Boles’ “StoryCrafting”

Paul Darcy Boles’ “StoryCrafting” offers a good toolbox for writers at any point in their career

StoryCrafting is (so far) one of the best all-around books I’ve read on the art of writing. For one thing, Boles spends a great deal of the book on revision/revising and gets into specifics; things to look for, things to be aware of, what not to do, what to definitely do, … Lots of books talk about revision/revising while not offering much about the mechanics of doing so (my opinion). Boles also provides ample insight on subjects like POV, Character, Plot, Scene, … It’s truly an good toolbox for anyone learning their craft.

The best part of this is that Boles demonstrates his process while honoring yours. He makes suggestions for your process and in the end, if something’s working for you and you know it’s working for you, don’t change it. Figure out why/how it’s working and make it better.

Sage words, that.


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Janet Burroway’s “Writing Fiction”

A Gift to Writers Throughout Their Careers

Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction has been on my bookshelf for (estimating) 20+ years. I picked up a used copy back when I made my first pass at fiction writing not realizing I’d plucked a diamond from a trash pile. My writing coach, Rich Marcello, suggested I give it a read.

The title sounded familiar when Rich suggested it. I’d added the book to my collection and hadn’t touched it since I put it on my shelf. This is one of those “When the student is ready, the teacher will be there” things. I wouldn’t have appreciated Writing Fiction 20+ years ago. Rich suggested Writing Fiction about a year ago and I’ve just completed my first read.

I’m a fairly fast reader.

I will be doing second, third and probably through fifth readings (if I live long enough).

There’s that much to learn (for me) in this book.


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Revisiting Jill Nelson’s “Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View”

Where’d that gun come from? And watch where you’re lookin’, lady.

I reviewed Jill Nelson’s “Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View” previously and still give the book high marks.

I highlighted several concepts and dogeared several pages during my first read. The book stayed on my desk and I kept getting closer and closer to a reread.

Rereading is a Josephism. I often reread books that I learn from or enjoy, a dog sucking the last bit of marrow from a bone.

I mentioned in that previous review that Nelson’s examples could be better, that there were some I had to work at to understand and in truth, even after considerable work some didn’t make sense.

Last night, during a reread, my diligence prevailed and I found (what are to me) some logic holes.


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Walter Mosley’s “This Year You Write Your Novel”

Walter Mosley’s “This Year You Write Your Novel” is an excellent read for authors at any stage in their career

I picked up This Year You Write Your Novel because I was reading Mosley’s The Man in My Basement and Devil in a Blue Dress and wanted to understand Mosley’s choices in the book. There were some authorial moves I understood, some completely threw me.

This Year You Write Your Novel is a short, powerful book. I read lots of books on writing methods, techniques, scene, character, language, et cetera and I was truly impressed at how much Mosley packed into 103 pages. It’s all there. Now here’s the funny part; I wouldn’t recommend the book to someone who’s been writing for a while, say a year or two, and doing it as a past time or leisure time activity. My sense is it would prove too confusing or even misinformational. It’s a great book (full of gems) for people who are about to write and those who already have a career going for them. The former will find a useful guide into a world they don’t know much, if anything, about. The latter will find lots of triggers for things they know but not consciously, for techniques they use but can’t name and will find themselves going “Oh, that’s right, that’s right” more often than not (I did, anyway).


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