One of the most common pieces of advice given to writers is “Write!” Another is “Read!”
I’m currently reading Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder, which is a book aimed at screenwriters, but applies to fiction writers in general. It’s interesting to see the techniques screenwriters use to create their characters and scenes without any words for the reader to take in. With so much emphasis on “show, don’t tell,” clearly these skills should become part of our writers’ toolkits as well. I also have Stephen King’s On Writing prepped on my bedstand for another read-through as the New Year begins.
What I’d like to suggest is that you also read about writing, so that you learn some of the tools of the trade. I’ll even make it easy for you. For each of the next five weeks, I’ll give some lucky reader/writer a book about writing. The books I have to give away are:
- Writing and Selling Your Novel, Jack M. Bickham, Writer’s Digest Books, 1996
- Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting, Syd Field, MJF Books, 1994
- Fiction Writer’s Brainstormer, James V. Smith, Jr., Writer’s Digest Books, 2000
- Conquering the Magazine Market, Connie Emerson, Writer’s Digest Books, 1991
- Creativity, Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, Harper Collins, 1996
While these books may not be hot off the press, they still have many valuable lessons for writers. Character development, writing interesting scenes, and studying where your fingers find energy for creation are always in style.
So if you’re interested in a chance at one of these books, leave a comment at my blog, and a random comment will be selected each week as a winner! If you aren’t chosen in any given week, try again the following week. Pass on the opportunity to your other writer friends, too. When any of us gets published, we all win. Good writing and good luck!