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Lake House Mystery Blog

My Favorite Books on Writing

 
OK then. Green ICE is finished and in the capable hands of my editor. Black ICE hasn't got legs yet.
 
I'm in a happy place and I'm making use of my free time to revisit some of my favorite instructional writing books. I'll list them here for you, if you are interested in getting your hands on a solid text on the craft, or even if you just like to have a well-rounded library.
 
These are the books I return to again and again, always learning something new, always reminded of something I had learned but put on the back shelf of my mind. By the time Green ICE comes back from the editor with suggestions, I'll be ready to dive into Black ICE. Dive - a hint.
 
1.     Story by Robert McKee – this is my all time number one go-to story structure and style reference. It is so marked up and tabbed by me that it looks like a May Day pole.
 
2.     Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden – I was fortunate  to be in a workshop by Chris Roerden, and she is one impressive lady. Many years in the “business” as an acquisitions editor drove her to put this reference into the hands of writers – a wonderful peek behind the curtain of what constitutes excellent writing and what goes into the publisher's waste bin. Add to that solid examples of how to fix the problems and you have gold. Read it if you can.
 
3.     Stein on Writing by Sol Stein – This easy reading book not only provides solid advice, it also has real examples to illustrate the rules.
 
4.     Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.– A visually oriented depiction of story and storytelling motifs and models. It presents information in a different way that allows your brain to think outside the box, so to speak.
 
There you have it. A chocolate bar, an apple, a comfortable chair and time to revisit and mark up my books. This is a good place.
 

21 Comments to My Favorite Books on Writing:

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Billie on Sunday, March 17, 2013 2:53 PM
Marti, these are all excellent choices, and ones that still sit on my handiest shelf. I also enjoy the Writer's Digest series, Plot, Dialog, Setting, Voice, etc....on volume per topic. Really informative. And you may not know this, but one of our recent OTP Small Books is CHARACTER: The Heartbeat of the Novel by our own Jim Callan...a ton of info packed into 50-60 pages, hands on exercises included. Check it out!! Also, a moment of brag...Chris Roerdens follow on book to the one you mentioned features killer opening lines, and one of our earliest titles claimed a spot in that book! Billie
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