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Registered Members => Book Talk => Topic started by: CJRay on January 01, 2007, 05:32 PM

Title: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: CJRay on January 01, 2007, 05:32 PM
I was wondering, what books, if any, do you have on the craft of writing?  Which ones would you recommend?  :books:

CJ
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Laura Manivong on January 01, 2007, 05:36 PM
Write Away, by Elizabeth George
Writing The Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass
Bird By Bird, by Anne Lamont


The first two have helped me more than the third, even though I still like it very much, but I haven't gotten through all three of them end to end. I kind of read them in parts.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: mpoet on January 01, 2007, 05:50 PM
I just finished "Take Joy" by Jane Yolen, and I found it very inspiring. 
I love to write poetry, so I also love Ralph Fletcher's books.  They are written for kids, but I find that they get my creative juices flowing.  My favorite is "Poetry Matters."  Another book that I think is essential for poets is Myra Cohn Livingston's "Poem-Making."  I really studied it this past summer, and I return to it again and again. :reading2:
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: TracyH on January 01, 2007, 05:54 PM
The Writer's Journey
From Where You Dream
The Fiction Editor
Crafting Stories for Children
Bird by Bird
On Writing

Tracy
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sully on January 01, 2007, 05:57 PM
I love On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
I bought Steering The Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin but still have not read it.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?- Sully!
Post by: mpoet on January 01, 2007, 06:11 PM
Mary, I just realized that you and I worked together in Cambridge, Mass!  I just saw your message with the web address, and the last time I saw you, we were at the New England regional conference.  I am pretty new to this board, but I love it!   I hope all is well with you, your daughter, and your writing!  :) (Mary Cronin)
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: anita on January 01, 2007, 06:19 PM
I have about a million of them, but the one I find myself refering to all the time is "Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook" by Donald Maass.  It's been a huge help (I write YA).  I  found his "Writing the Breakout Novel" to be good too, but the workbook is great, if you do the exercises. 

anita
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: dinalapomy101 on January 01, 2007, 07:30 PM
My favorite is Stephen King's ON WRITING, but there's a bunch more listed here, too.  Have fun! :)
http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=14660.0
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: shebec on January 01, 2007, 07:52 PM
I have Writing for Children and Teenagers by Lee Wyndham, Gotham's Writing Fiction, and Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, by Joseph Williams.

All of these I bought for creative writing classes, and I've enjoyed them. The book by Wyndham is especially excellent for getting your bearings; it's got a lot of basic information but it's also fairly in depth. I also really like the Gotham's Guide; it's like a course in Writing Fiction at your own pace. It's littered with exercises to help you strengthen your writing.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: CJRay on January 01, 2007, 08:18 PM
This is some great stuff.  Thanks!  :dancing:
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: mandy on January 01, 2007, 08:19 PM
I have tons!  This past semester, I took a class where all I did was read and discuss writing books.  The best, by far?  WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass.  I found that other are aimed at people who are just starting out and looking for inspiration.  My second fave was definitely THE WRITING LIFE by Annie Dillard.  Others I have (that I can remember off the top of my head) are ZEN AND THE ART OF WRITING, IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, many WRITERS MARKET, and 1001 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BOOK.  Needless to say, it was a great class.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: kellyr on January 02, 2007, 05:57 AM
For inspiration: I love Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Take Joy by Jane Yolen.

For inspiration AND craft: On Writing, by Stephen King

For craft (children's writing): Picture Writing by Anastasia Suen

For craft (poetry):  The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry, A Kick in the Head by Paul Janeczko (not that it's intended as a primer, but there it is), The Poetry Dictionary by John Drury
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sacha on January 02, 2007, 06:12 AM
I've gotten a lot of use out of SELF EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS.  I've found it has really specific information.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Wordbender on January 02, 2007, 07:42 AM
Two of my favs are Take Joy and On Writing. 

Advice taken from these two books:  Put your butt in the chair and then murder your darlings.  In other words, write the damn book and then edit like a coldblooded fiend.   :werd
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: AnneWritesYA on January 02, 2007, 08:12 AM
I've got tons of writing books but the three that have given me the most Ah-ha moments were:
Stein on Writing - Sol Stein
GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict - Deb Dixon (it's romance-centric but the 'method' isn't genre specific)
Plot and Structure - James Scott Bell
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: anita on January 02, 2007, 08:15 AM
Oh, Sol Stein's books are good.  I forgot about those.  I should reread them.   I think Self editing for fiction writers is good to review before you start editing.  Great book.

I know tons of people who love Goal, Motivation and Conflict, but that doesn't do much for me. 

anita
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Bish on January 02, 2007, 08:19 AM
I have a lot of books collected over many years. Some of them are pretty old. Some I haven't read in looong time, like, Aspects of the Novel, by E. M. Forester.

A book my mom gave me that REALLY helped me get started and stay motivated is The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

And I also greatly enjoyed Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Brandbury, one of my favorite authors.

For craft, Word Magic by Cindy Rogers has lots of exercises which can be helpful to jump start a sluggish brain.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Stephanie J. Blake on January 02, 2007, 08:32 AM
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
2007 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market
The Idiot's Guide to Writing for Young Adults
Strunk and White's Elements of Style
Punctuation Plain and Simple
The Writer's Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats
The Artist's Way
Idea Catcher
2006 Writer's Market
Writer's and Illustrator's Guide to Children's Book Publishers and Agents
The Writer's Complete Crime Reference Book

Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sully on January 02, 2007, 09:18 AM
Hi Mary!

Great to see you on the board! Hope you and your family are doing well.  :-)

Mary
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: ecm on January 02, 2007, 09:30 AM
I have quite a collection (mostly reference books like CWIM) but here are some favorites:

ART & FEAR, David Bayles & Ted Orland - This is a classic, must-read. I reach for it when I need truth, inspiration AND someone to "kick my butt." It's written in a very matter-of-fact manner so don't let the "kick butt" part put you off. Hearing the truth does that to me. Although it's a short book, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of it.

ON WRITING, Stephen King - Inspiring! I enjoyed his personal story. Provides great info about craft and the "writer's toolbox." He's freaking funny too :-).

BIRD BY BIRD, Anne Lamott - Great perspective. She's the reason I started letting go and doing more "sloppy" first drafts.

LET THE CRAZY CHILD WRITE, Clive Matson - Great suggestions for accessing the "creative unconscious" as he likes to call it.

WRITING WITH PICTURES, Uri Schulevitz - An excellent book for writer/illustrators and illustrators.

POEM-MAKING: Ways To Begin Writing Poetry, Myra Livingston - This was originally geared for kids but Sonya Sones recommends it for adult writers too. I've gotten a lot from it.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Nan on January 02, 2007, 10:32 AM
WRITING DOWN THE BONES By Natalie Goldberg "Freeing the writer within."

ON WRITING By Stephen King - He has some great one-liners in here, but most of the ones I like have swear words, so I won't give examples. ;)

BIRD BY BIRD By Anne Lamott - Worth every penny.

CHILDREN'S WRITERS WORD BOOK By Alijandra Mogilner-"Lists of specific words introduced at each of seven reading levels."

WRITERS, INC-a student handbook/thumbnail reference for grammar, etc.

ELEMENTS OF STYLE By Strunk and White

A WRITER'S BOOK OF HOPE By Ralph Keyes

And this is just for personal inspiration:
OSGOOD'S PRIMER - Copyright 1888. It was my great grandfather's school book of first lessons. ABC's, etc.
and
THE NEW BUSY FINGERS PRIMER - Copyright 1924. Albert Whitman & Co. It was my dad's and comes complete with his doodles on every page. The opening lines are:
"Writing is putting on paper what your mind thinks.
Drawing is putting on paper what your eye sees." 
Simple. Profound.
Love it.


Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sam Hranac on January 02, 2007, 10:49 AM
Strunk and White's Elements of Style is my only constant. Many others come and go. Many listed below. One I enjoyed for marketing reasons lately was Some Writers Deserve to Starve be Elaura Niles.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Hannah on January 02, 2007, 06:03 PM
I have BIRD BY BIRD and love it. I got ON WRITING from the library and am liking the second half, although I had to skim most of the first part, because I got bored.  My creative writing teacher gives us excerpts from Annie Dillard's book, too.

I also read WRITING UP A STORM WITH THE POLK STREET KIDS when I was in about second grade and I still have it.  I just got 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL and DIARIES AND THE CREATIVE LIFE to see how they help. 
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: shana on January 03, 2007, 08:32 AM
I have a lot because I used to be in the Writer's Digest Book Club, but the only ones I really refer back to are:

Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood
Dialogue by Lewis Turco
Plot by Ansen Dibell
The Writer's Market Companion by Joe Feiertag
Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella
Writing for Children and Teenagers by Lee Wyndham
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: andracill on January 03, 2007, 08:38 AM
As per Jaina's suggestion, I recently got Orson Scott Card's book CHARACTER AND VIEWPOINT -- it's excellent!  It helps that i read OSC and love his books ;D  I also own BIRD BY BIRD & WRITING DOWN THE BONES...but honestly, I haven't made it through either of them.  There a little more abstract that I'm looking for right now.  but I know I may look to them at a different time and adore them :)
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Gerri on January 03, 2007, 01:41 PM
Hi *

Most of the above.  I also want to include:

The ABC's of Writing for Children, compiled by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff.  About a hundred authors and illustrators talk about the craft, art, business, and life of writing childen's literature.  Covers about everything.

78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published & 14 Reasons Why It Just Might, by Pat Walsh - the founding editor of MacAdam/Cage.  Knowing and avoiding many common mistakes and bad habits will distinguish you from most writers and help you and your work get taken seriously.  Brutally honest, from an editor's point of view, but helpful.

* Gerri
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: bzirkle on January 06, 2007, 12:28 PM
Picture Writing by Anastasia Suen (I've just started this one and love it.)
Writer's First Aid by Kristi Holl
Creating Characters Kids Will Love by Elaine Marie Alphin
Story Sparker, A Creativity Guide for Children's Writers by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones (they are the authors of The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series)
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Juliarts2003@yahoo.com on January 06, 2007, 01:19 PM
Most mentioned above - love Writing the Breakout Novel, The First 5 Pages and The Artist's Way (I find that a lot of what I'm writing comes out first in my Morning Pages - I do them pretty faithfully!)   :writing3:

also - Story by Robert McKee & Write from the Heart by Leslea Newman
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sarah Miller on January 23, 2007, 02:46 PM
These have all been mentioned already, but I love them, so I'm going to register my vote anyway:

Bird by Bird
On Writing
Steering the Craft

..and, ye old Elements of Style
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Larry on January 29, 2007, 02:59 PM
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass is easily the best. Stephen King's On Writing is a close second.  Though it's not actually a how to book, I highly recommend "Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom." If you're interested in the history of children's publishing this book will not disappoint.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: cynthea on January 29, 2007, 03:20 PM
My favorite three are:
Self-editing for Fiction Writers
On Writing (Sol Stein's)
Elements of Style
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: lurban on January 30, 2007, 03:39 AM
It is so interesting which books spark people.  Those super structured, how to plan a novel books scare me more than help me -- but I love the specifics when it comes to revision.  So, my favorites of the stack I keep handy on my desk:

For Encouragement:
IF YOU WANT TO WRITE  by Brenda Ueland

For Revision Help:
SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Brown and Dave King

For Craft, but Without Prescription:
ON WRITING by Steven King


			
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sacha on January 30, 2007, 06:24 AM
I'm in the middle of ON WRITING by Stephen King.  If you're one of those writers who doesn't plot relentlessly and who's work isn't blueprinted (like me)  :duh:, then this book will certainly make you feel like less of a FREAK!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Megan on January 30, 2007, 06:37 AM
I own quite a lot of writing books, but most of them are in storage right now.  The two still out are THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE and Constance Hale's SIN AND SYNTAX (which basically takes everything the former talks about and runs even further with it). 

Of the ones packed away (that I can remember), my favourites are King's ON WRITING (I especially love the passage about writing-as-telepathy), THE ARTIST'S WAY (did the "program" as a teen and it helped me realize that writing was my first priority), the Sol Stein  books (I have two, can't recall the titles--but I learned a lot about structuring narrative and scenes from him), and one of the first writing books I bought, a dozen years or more ago, HOW TO WRITE TALES OF HORROR, FANTASY, AND SCIENCE FICTION (which has essays by many of the great writers in those genres--I particularly remember one which talks about how an idea is not a story, just the beginning of the story).
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sarah Miller on January 31, 2007, 05:18 PM
Ooh -- one I forgot is Gail Carson Levine's Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly (http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Magic-Creating-Stories-that/dp/0060519606/sr=8-1/qid=1170293252/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-6734246-9303141?ie=UTF8&s=books). It's aimed at kids, but there's plenty of good stuff in there for any age. Her cardinal rule: Save what you write!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: rhombus on February 03, 2007, 08:57 PM
Writing with Power:Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process by Peter Elbow (writing professor at Evergreen). Good tactics for getting a project moving, looks at different methods for approaching a writing project. Also some fun "writer's workshop" techniques--I've used them in doing workshops and it was great fun to see the spontaneous creativity pour out from "non-writers". "Concrete is not discreet" was my favorite line that came out in a quick writing exercise. 

Annie Dillard is magnificently articulate and observant; The Writing Life sparkles.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Aspasia on February 04, 2007, 05:42 AM
Great thread topic.

For the sheer humor of it (and finding someone with some of the same neurosis as myself):
Bird by bird http://www.amazon.com/dp/0385480016?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0385480016&adid=1PSAEXYF7CMYQ0D4RP7X& (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0385480016?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0385480016&adid=1PSAEXYF7CMYQ0D4RP7X&)

For that MFA-in-a-book experience:
Reading Like a Writer http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060777044?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0060777044&adid=0Z559RAWQDEDEFQDMAZY& (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060777044?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0060777044&adid=0Z559RAWQDEDEFQDMAZY&)

For inspiration and all around entertainment:
On Writing http://www.amazon.com/dp/0743455967?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0743455967&adid=1MAQSSE0VHWWQ71X2667& (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0743455967?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0743455967&adid=1MAQSSE0VHWWQ71X2667&)

For the low-down on common and not-so common writerly errors:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060545690?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0060545690&adid=0M64PH8611WBMN0HWMXD& (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060545690?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0060545690&adid=0M64PH8611WBMN0HWMXD&)

For wisdom:
The Invisible Child http://www.amazon.com/dp/0525464824?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0525464824&adid=08KWBXQG89XQ7XCKVJP6& (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0525464824?tag=ofmakingmanyb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0525464824&adid=08KWBXQG89XQ7XCKVJP6&)

I could add more, and some of the others that I've learned from have been mentioned (i.e. Donald Maass), but these are my personal top choices.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: angela on February 04, 2007, 08:22 AM


CMS - the book I need the most and like the least!!!

-Angela
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: lurban on February 04, 2007, 09:23 AM
CMS?
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Aspasia on February 04, 2007, 12:26 PM
Chicago Manual of Style is a nasty piece of work, isn't it? Ug. Several decades in hell will be spent line-editing horrible fiction according to CMS rules, and a few more decades will be formatting footnotes and bibliographies. 
:devil:        :z:
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Amy Spitzley on February 04, 2007, 01:47 PM
Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market. That's all. I can't seem to do non-fiction, even when maybe I should. (grin) I did like Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones in college, though.
AMY
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Liz on February 04, 2007, 03:32 PM
What did you like/learn from this book?

For that MFA-in-a-book experience:
Reading Like a Writer
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Suzy Scribbles on February 04, 2007, 03:47 PM
My all-time favorite book about writing is Robert Newton Peck's  Fiction is Folks: How to Create Unforgettable Characters.
He is right on!

Susan
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Aspasia on February 04, 2007, 03:59 PM
Reading Like a Writer is the first book on writing that has made my head buzz in the same way my lit courses in college did. Prose dissects classics topically in various chapters, i.e., her first chapters (2-4) are "Words," "Sentences," "Paragraphs." I'm still reading it and plan to re-read it after I finish.

One major plus for me and where I am in life right now, is that it has rejuvenated my reading. I'd been getting lazy - just reading books for the fun of it and not really thinking about them, figuring I'd pick things up by osmosis. Sure, I do pick things up that way, but I learn so much more if I ask myself why I like something I read, or dislike it.

I guess the short form of what I'm saying is that the book teaches/refreshes how to read attentively. Something it's easy to forget when the pressures of  playdates, school schedules, picking fuzz off your sweater and realizing it's dried snot (and not your own), take over.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Katiba on February 19, 2007, 04:37 PM
I'm reading Reading Like a Writer right now.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I do like it, and I think she's correct to point out that every word counts.  However, in a way it feels really self indulgent: like she's just picked out the books she likes and the passages she likes and is working her chapters around them.  I'm not sure she couldn't mix and match her chapters, at least the ones in the beginning, and come up with the same result: every word counts.  (I'm not finished yet, so I may have different feelings later.)  Also, I really don't think I could read other people's books like this - I'm more the immerse myself in it, at least in regards to language.  In terms of plot and character, etc., I do try to figure out why things in some books work and things in other books don't.  But it is good for reminding me to reach and stretch myself in terms of the language I use in my own books.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: fallpeople on February 27, 2007, 09:40 AM
I have one to add: The Comic Toolbox by John Vorhaus. He's a scriptwriter, but I got a lot out of this, especially about characters and their motivations. Anyone else enjoy this one?
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Deva on February 28, 2007, 03:04 AM
The books I have on my "writing reference shelf" at the moment are:

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones (for humor and what NOT to do)
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (I found it very useful)
Roget's Thesaurus (for fun with words)
Story by Robert McKee (intended for screenwriting, but I found it very applicable to writing in general. I have not finished it yet but the portions I have read are full of little post-it notes marking passages I want to go back to.)
The Art of Fiction by John Gardner (haven't read that yet)
The Deluxe Transitive Vampire by Karen Elizabeth Gordon (haven't read yet)
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Stephanie J. Blake on March 05, 2007, 07:23 AM
I am using the "Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook" while drafting my latest WIP, and it really helps!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: AllyCowee on March 08, 2007, 11:51 AM
That is a fabulous book!

I also highly recommend the original Weekend Novelist. He's got fantastic things to say about structure.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sarah Miller on March 11, 2007, 12:26 PM
These two aren't so much about the mechanics of "how-to" but they'll give you plenty to mull over:

The Invisible Child: On Reading and Writing for Children (http://www.librarything.com/work/121626&book=7201973), by Katherine Paterson

TalkTalk: A Children's Book Writer Talks to Grown-ups (http://www.librarything.com/work/566707&book=7226985), by EL Konisgburg
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: momalisa on March 12, 2007, 09:49 AM
I just got On Writing by Stephen King.  I hear it is outstanding and can't wait to read it.

I also joined the Writers digest book club and ordered:
2007 Writer's Market (of course!)
Children's Writer's Word Book
Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook
Take Joy

The selections are a bit limited but it's a great deal!
___________________________________________________________________________
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: millencake on March 12, 2007, 09:54 AM
I have only two, but I 'm still pretty new to writing, so I do plan on reading more.

ELEMENTS OF STYLE
ON WRITING  (Which, despite providing a few invaluable tips and methods, proved to be more entertaining than useful.  For me, at least.  I still reccomend it highly, if only because it IS so entertaining.)
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Scotti on June 07, 2007, 02:11 PM
On Writing (King)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Jones) - for humor and to bolster that kindred spirit feeling
Write Away (George)
The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference (Writer's Digest Books)
Building Believable Characters (McCutcheon)
The Writer's Journey (Vogler)
The Art of Fiction (Gardner)
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Browne and King)

... to name a few!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Paula on June 07, 2007, 03:46 PM
Thanks, everyone. I've added a couple of the books you mentioned to my to-read list.
Here are a few more that haven't been mentioned here yet:

The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner

The Resilient Writer:Tales of Rejection and Triumph from 23 Top Authors by Catherine Wald

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers by Gail Sher


Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Dawn M. on June 07, 2007, 05:11 PM
I haven't seen these listed, but I love, love, LOVE Heller Sellers's PAGE AFTER PAGE and CHAPTER AFTER CHAPTER, particularly the last one which just came out this year. I have so many Post-It notes highlighting favorite chapters. She is so full of ideas to keep the writing life going and encouragement that it's like having your own personal writing coach and cheerleader in your corner. And everyone knows how we could use that! I highly recommend these books.
Dawn
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: KateMessner on June 13, 2007, 01:08 PM
Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD is my absolute favorite. It's the book that will get you back to your keyboard on those days when you've decided that you're a stinky writer who has no business telling stories and might as well go gorge yourself on chocolate instead.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: justpat on June 16, 2007, 05:35 AM
One of my favorites: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

It's not about how to write, it's more about how to motivate yourself to write.  A great little motivational book which I keep next to my computer and read a random page everyday to keep me going.  He's also one of my favorite fiction authors.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Mussel Bound on June 18, 2007, 07:31 PM
All my puny collection contains is the AP Stylebook and Libel Guide, and Picture Writing, by Anastasia Suen. 

Quote
Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD is my absolute favorite. It's the book that will get you back to your keyboard on those days when you've decided that you're a stinky writer who has no business telling stories and might as well go gorge yourself on chocolate instead.
Instead??!!? Why not during??  8)

justpat, The War of Art sounds interesting, can you please describe it?
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: FrannyC on June 18, 2007, 08:06 PM
My all-time, hands-down, dog-earred favorite:  Walking On Water by Madeline L'Engle.  (Yes, THAT Madeline L'Engle, who wrote A Wrinkle in Time).

It's perspective is definitely Christian - it's about what it means to be a Christian and a writer.  It is filled to the brim with inspiration and perspective.  I've probably read it 4 times.  I love Madeline L'Engle.  She's one of the wisest writers I've ever read.  I cannot recommend it highly enough, especially if you come from a Christian belief system.

Fran
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: nina nelson on June 20, 2007, 08:57 AM
I have a lot of the ones mentioned here, but I just want to say that if you find yourself blocked or like you've "lost that lovin' feelin'"....definitely buy The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I don't know what I would do without it.

Nina
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Hannah on January 19, 2008, 11:38 PM
I just realized I only read book son writing by authors I haven't previously read. The only exception I can think of off the top of my head is Patricia Reilly Giff, whose book on writing I read when I was a child. But allt he other writing books I've read in recent memory are just writing books by people I've heard of but not read--ON WRITING by Stephen King, BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott, and WRITE AWAY by Elizabeth George. Does anyone else do that?
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Liz on January 20, 2008, 06:29 AM
Me too -- the same ones you mentioned

I didn't know that Patricia Reilly Giff wrote one - have to check it out! 
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Catherine M on January 20, 2008, 12:18 PM
In addition to those mentioned already--especially the Donald Maass book--I love William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade and Sherrilyn Kenyon's Character Naming Sourcebook.

Catherine
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: mrh on January 20, 2008, 01:19 PM
Many of my favorites are repeats (N Lukeman, A Dillard, EM Forster). But one of my favorites wasn't mentioned (unless I missed it) -- On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner. I love his concept of "the vivid and continuous dream."

Many of my favorite craft books are repeats too (Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Kenyon's naming book, Mogilner's age-level word book) but I think my all-time favorite is Grammatically Correct by Anne Stilman. She covers everything (you're not left saying, "Well, she didn't answer that" -- at least I'm not) and entertains you while doing it. And I must cast a big, big vote for Word Magic by Cindy Rogers. Most I've learned from any book on language since I was a really green newbie.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: SproutQ on January 31, 2008, 05:31 PM
First post here; hope it comes out okay.

I have to second the recommendation for On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner, as well as for Ursula Le Guin's Steering the Craft, which is a writing course in a book, really.  For sheer amusement and inspiration, though, I love Dear Genius, Leonard Marcus's compilation of the letters of the great children's editor, Ursula Nordstrom.  My favorite is the letter to John Steptoe's mother asking her to urge him to hurry up with his next manuscript.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Mrs O on February 02, 2008, 10:09 AM
I started out as an aspiring screenwriter (my MG novel is based on one of my spec scripts).  The best book I've ever read about writing is Creating Unforgettable Characters by Dr. Linda Seger.  Although most of Dr. Seger's books center on screenwriting, this one is great for any fiction writer.  This book really inspired my approach to character development, and how it relates to the plot.  I haven't read it in about 10 years, so now I'm contemplating a re-read for a refresh...!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Shari on February 02, 2008, 10:39 AM
On Writing, Stephen King
Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass
Between the Lines, Jessica Morrell
The Spirit of Writing, ed. Mary Robert Waldman

Probably Maass' and Morrell's books are the two I find most helpful for craft - both packed with great stuff! The others, more inspirational, I think.

I also really enjoyed Julia Cameron's The Right to Write (but it's not actually on my shelf... it's on my mom's) and Annie Dillard's The Writing Life.

Also, I have (and love) Madeleine L'Engle's "The Rock That is Higher: Story as Truth". Very faith-focussed, as is her book "Walking on Water" -- quite inspirational both in terms of faith and writing.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Llehn on March 11, 2008, 08:21 PM
I don't have it in my personal library but I found Nancy Lamb's The Writer's Guide To Crafting Stories For Children to be an eye opener.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Sarah Miller on March 12, 2008, 06:10 AM
Two recent additions to my must-have list:

Spunk and Bite, by Arthur Plotnik
A great style guide for pepping up your writing without forsaking Strunk & White.

The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard
A bit highbrow, but nicely reassuring if you're having a rough time...
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Nora on March 16, 2008, 06:51 PM
On Writing,  Stephen King
(My favorite quote: "The road to Hell is paved with adverbs...") :skull

20 Master Plots and how to build them, Ronald B. Tobias
Writing the Breakout Novel (and workbook), Donald Maas

The First Five Pages,  Noah Lukeman

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life, Noah Lukeman
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Lunchbox on March 20, 2008, 12:44 AM
Magic Steps to Writing Success, by Charles Sasser
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Screenwriting, by Skip Press
Writing Copy for Dummies
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: missrodeo on March 20, 2008, 06:26 AM
My collection has gotten a little bit embarrassing--it's taken over an entire shelf. The ones I like the most are Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Stein on Writing, Katherine Paterson's A Sense of Wonder, Stephen King's On Writing, and Bird by Bird.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: lizzy_lyn on March 20, 2008, 03:47 PM
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keys is a must-have for every writer, IMHO.   :getmail
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: ghoulinpajamas on March 20, 2008, 07:17 PM
Ditto on the    Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King.

I thought You Can Write a Novel by James V. Smith was also helpful when first starting out, but then again I was an absolute beginner.

My most used reference books on my shelf are my Oxford dictionary of Slang and Webster's Word Menu. For when you're saying "What's that thingy  called . . . on a boat. . ." Well. I've never actually have had that particular wonderment, but you get the jist.

I have the online Urban Dicationary on a bookmark, but am waiting for the reverse look-up.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Pippa on March 23, 2008, 08:18 AM
Nancy Lamb's "The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children"
Jack M. Bickham's "The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)"
Stephen King's "On Writing"
J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter"

Various other Writer's Digest books on Plot, Novel Writing, etc, but I didn't get as inspired as I did with those listed above.


Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: LW on March 23, 2008, 10:30 AM

I've always loved John Gardner's The Art of Fiction and, more recently, Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer.

For great, practical inspiration, I often go back to Writing the Breakout Novel. It really helps when I can't figure out what's wrong with a scene.

One book which I don't think was mentioned: A Writer's Time by Kenneth Atchity, which has some great insights on harnessing the subconscious mind during the writing process (something I'm trying to do more of!).
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Cana on July 15, 2008, 07:38 AM
Whew. Okay you guys. It took me over 30 minutes to find this thread. (Alright, I'll be honest. Due to all the wonderful threads here, I allowed myself to be distracted, and I've probably been here for an hour or more.) But my purpose in coming here to begin with is to see what you think about a novel revision book I'd heard about. I knew I'd seen this thread and searched for "books on writng", "books on the craft of writing", searched through book talk, education, book reviews, writing, writing exercises, etc. Ok, you get my point. I finally searched for "Bird by Bird" and found nothing. It wasn't till I searched Anne Lamott that this thread finally popped up.

So why am I telling you this, dear moderator? Because I'd like to propose another topic on the boards. Can we find a place for "Books about the craft of writing" or something like that? Each thread would have the book's title/author in the subject line, and comments could then be posted about that book, how writers found it useful, what they liked most, etc.  Just a thought.

Ok, my question that brought me here:

In the July/August 2008 SCBWI bulletin, the book Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy Pattison was featured in an article by Franci McMahon. I believe I've heard of this book before and am considering purchasing it to help me through revisions of my current YA. Has anyone else used this? What are your thoughts?
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: ecm on July 15, 2008, 09:20 PM
Here's one to add to the list:

SPUNK & BITE by Arthur Plotnik - It's an updated, punchier version of Elements of Style. Something to keep around for inspiration when you want to spice up your locution.  :smile
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Jean Reidy on March 19, 2011, 03:28 PM
Just bumping this up to let you know that I finished BETWEEN THE LINES by Jessica Morrell and thought it was excellent. It's all about subtlety and taking your prose to the next literary level. If you're interested here's my review with the details:
http://jeanreidy.blogspot.com/2011/03/writing-book-review-between-lines-by.html (http://jeanreidy.blogspot.com/2011/03/writing-book-review-between-lines-by.html)
 :eyeballs:
Jean
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Lunchbox on March 19, 2011, 03:51 PM
I recently inherited my late father's writing books--he was a faithful subscriber to Writer's Digest but never published anything.  None of these books deal directly with writing for children, but the concepts might translate well--I may get around to reading them someday!

20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald Tobias
Writing Articles from the Heart  by Marjorie Holmes
Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham
Writing A to Z edited by Kirk Polking
Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress
Writers Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing  vols. 1 & 2
Capturing the Magic of Fiction Writing by Jack Creed
The 30-minute Writer by Connie Emerson

Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: olmue on March 19, 2011, 05:04 PM
I would HIGHLY recommend Cheryl Klein's SECOND SIGHT (found here: http://cherylklein.com/second-sight/).  It's my favorite writing book!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: J-Bert on March 19, 2011, 09:24 PM
Olmue, I'm in the middle of SECOND SIGHT right now and already I would agree with you. It's fantastic. I keep putting it down because I've made a connection for my WIP, then can't wait to pick it up and read more.

Jean, BETWEEN THE LINES sounds really interesting. I'll have to check into that one.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Jean Reidy on March 20, 2011, 12:37 PM
I just got my copy of SECOND SIGHT this week. I'm anxious to have a look, but I'm wondering how much of it will repeat what has already been posted in Cheryl's talks - which are fabulous.
Jean
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: olmue on March 20, 2011, 04:36 PM
Olmue, I'm in the middle of SECOND SIGHT right now and already I would agree with you. It's fantastic. I keep putting it down because I've made a connection for my WIP, then can't wait to pick it up and read more.

LOL, that's what happened to me, too. It's very practical, which I liked.

JR, a lot of it is her talks, but there is a large section toward the end that I hadn't seen before. (I think she used it in some kind of workshop, but it's not on line.)
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: writerdebm on March 20, 2011, 04:56 PM
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on SECOND SIGHT! I've been a fan of Cheryl Kleins blog for a long time, especially like what she has to say about picture books--it would be great to have all that (and more from the sounds of it!) in a book.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Jean Reidy on March 21, 2011, 10:38 AM
Thanks, Olmue. I'm anxious to dig in. And even if her online info was repeated, it would be nice to have it all organized in one place. When I ordered the book, I also got a free e-download. I haven't taken a look at that yet. Lots of reading lies ahead.
Jean
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: CynJay on March 22, 2011, 12:08 PM
I didn't see these two listed but I'm using them on a revision and they're FABULOUS, especially for someone like me who doesn't plot easily - SAVE THE CAT and SAVE THE CAT STRIKES BACK by Blake Snyder. (These are the first and third books in the series - the second one mostly takes apart movie plots, so I skipped it). My writing buds Robin and Eve ecommended them on a retreat and I haven't put them down since. They're on screenwriting, but all of the info applies to novels as well.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: elissacruz on January 04, 2013, 07:17 PM
Just bumping this thread in case any of the rest of you are making goals and looking for some books on craft or writing inspiration (or both).  Took me forever to find this thread, and I didn't want anyone else to have to repeat the madness.

You're welcome.  :grin3
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Bobi Martin on January 04, 2013, 09:57 PM
Good thread to bump--especially at the start of a new year.

Here are a few I find particularly helpful:

Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliott, Ph.D    because it's easy to understand and written in a humorous style that makes it fun to read
Writing It Right! by Sandy Asher    because it shows how revision improves a piece and helps explain the back and forth process
Anatomy of Nonfiction by Margery Facklam and Peggy Thomas   because it's full of really helpful pointers

And for inspiration I still like The Spying Heart by Katherine Paterson  (Although Bird by Bird is good too!)
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Laine on January 11, 2013, 06:10 AM
I've recently added Mary Kole's Writing Irresistible Kidlit and Steven Pressfield's Do the Work. Great stuff in both!!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Jean Reidy on January 25, 2013, 12:10 PM
I just started reading WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT because I'm a huge fan of Mary Kole's blog. And so far so good. The organization of the book is a bit unexpected, but I'm not far enough in to really judge that. What I love most about Mary's advice is that I can always pull out golden nuggets from her writings that truly resonate and then stay with me long after I read them. It seems as though just when I'm asking a question, she's there to answer it. I think she's especially helpful for those of us who have been at this for a while and have faced challenges with plot structures or voice or characterization or ... she's brilliant at articulating the best audience-minded and industry-minded approaches to writing for kids.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: LeslieG on January 25, 2013, 01:42 PM
I've just started SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne and Dave King, and find it immensely insightful. I also finally picked up ART & FEAR: OBSERVATIONS ON THE PERILS (AND REWARDS) OF ARTMAKING by David Bayles and Ted Orland.  Even though ART & FEAR isn't a craft book, it's got some great insights into what makes creative people tick (or stop ticking, as it were), and helpful ways to understand ourselves.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Liz Straw on January 25, 2013, 03:19 PM
I have too many books on "how to write" and need to remember to just write.

I read the reviews of other people and think, oh, that would be a good book to get and suddenly I am reading about what I should be doing!

I have an entire shelf on writing, creative thinking, etc. :paperbag
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: AnneB on January 25, 2013, 05:30 PM
I read the reviews of other people and think, oh, that would be a good book to get and suddenly I am reading about what I should be doing!

 :werd
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: kategoka on January 26, 2013, 10:35 AM
My Very First Post... on a subject I've been thinking about recently too.

Here are the few that have helped me the most.

    Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print/ Renni Browne and Dave King
    Novel Metamorphosis/ Darcy Pattison
    The Anatomy of Story/ John Truby

I'm going to check out a bunch of these other recommendations too, especially Second Sight/ Cheryl Klein
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: cekster on January 26, 2013, 01:50 PM
I'm a picture book writer and have these on my shelves, plus the 2013 Children's Writer's & Illustrator market book, but I borrow many writing books from my library.  Getting inspiration is essential. But as well, I read countless numbers of picture books, which I find extremely helpful to my craft.

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul
Children's Writer's WORK BOOK
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: kategoka on January 26, 2013, 07:23 PM

In the July/August 2008 SCBWI bulletin, the book Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy Pattison was featured in an article by Franci McMahon. I believe I've heard of this book before and am considering purchasing it to help me through revisions of my current YA. Has anyone else used this? What are your thoughts?

I used a lot of the exercises from Novel Metamorphosis/ Darcy Pattison and they helped a lot with my MG novel re-write. For me it helped the most with developing stronger sensory details, punching up the final "obligatory/ battle" scene and adding more unique characterization. All good stuff.

For plotting and narrative arc, I like The Anatomy of Story/ John Truby better.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: awful waffles on January 26, 2013, 09:17 PM
 I love Writing From the Heart by Joy Cowley, my writing hero.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: dkshumaker on January 27, 2013, 04:46 PM
I'm with Liz Straw - there are so many fantastic writing books out there and I have quite a few, but in the end I need to stop reading about writing and just write! BUT, I've looked at this thread on and off for months now - if a couple of books sound promising, I add it to my list of books I want and then occasionally "treat" myself to one if I can't find them in the library. Hmm. .  Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away, isn't it?
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: olmue on September 07, 2013, 09:43 AM
I opened this thread again to add a book, and it turns out Jean started off the thread with it. I'm only partway through Mary Kole's book, but I'm really enjoying this one! The beginning is your basic what-is-MG-and-YA, but once you get past that, yeah, it's really for people who are not beginners anymore and need a bit more meat. I'm reading it quickly straight through, and then will be using it as a workbook. In particular, she has great things to say about showing, telling, interiority, and raising the stakes. I definitely recommend it!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: Jennifer D G on September 07, 2013, 11:28 AM
Thanks for the suggestion, Rose! Our library system has 6 copies and I just put myself on the wait list for the next available copy. It must be a good one!
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: LeslieG on September 07, 2013, 11:50 AM
This one's been mentioned in years past, but since I just finished it and found it pretty terrific: STEIN ON WRITING by Sol Stein.
Title: Re: What "writing" books do you have in your personal library?
Post by: kategoka on September 07, 2013, 01:43 PM
I found a book recently that I wanted to share with you all and I was very happy when this thread just popped up in the "replies to my posts" section.


THE MAKING OF A STORY: A NORTON GUIDE TO CREATIVE WRITING by Alice LaPlante

Each chapter is made up of three parts:
1) the usual "instruction," broken down into about 10 short sub-sections.
2) 2 writing exercises that relate to the chapter topic-- with examples from LaPlante's own students.
3) And 1-4 readings by published authors

I usually get these kinds of books at the library but I ended up buying myself a copy so that I could take notes in it as I go. The chapter on revision was incredibly helpful to me, offering the pros and cons of workshop style critiques and a great description of the different stages of a creative work. LaPlante also got me on the road to "an exercise based approach to deep revision" as she calls it.