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Writing How-To's

KyleColorado;1530725 said:
I'm probably in the high-end as far as how many "how to" books on writing I've read and own.

My current library contains. .. ... ..

The Power of Point of View - Alicia Rasley
Beginnings, Middles, and Ends - Nancy Kress
Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint - Nancy Kress
Make a Scene - Jordan Rosenfeld
Conflict and Suspense - James Scott Bell
Plot and Structure - James Scott Bell
Immediate Fiction - Jerry Cleaver
Writing the TV Drama Series - Pamela Douglas
The Story Template - Amy Deardon
Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines - Tami Cowden
Sixteen Master Villain Archetypes - Tami Cowden
The First 50 Pages - Jeff Gerke
Plot Versus Character - Jeff Gerke
Save the Cat! - Blake Snyder
Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies - Blake Snyder
Save the Cat! Strikes Back - Blake Snyder
Writing Fiction for All you're Worth - James Scott Bell
Zen in the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury
The Plot Whisperer- Martha Alderson
20 Master Plots - Ronald Tobias
My Story can Beat up Your Story - Jeffrey Schechter
Advanced Plotting - Chris Eboch
Outlining your Novel - K.M. Weiland
The 90-Day Novel - Alan Watt
The Anatomy of Story - John Truby
Story Engineering - Larry Brooks
The First Five Pages - Noah Lukeman
Novelist's Essential Guide to Crafting Scenes - Raymond Obstfeld
Scene and Structure - Jack Bickham
Techniques of the Selling Writer - Dwight Swain
The Art of War for Writers - James Scott Bell

That's.. over thirty books. And counting! Every time I go to the bookstore I head straight to the Writing section and attack the books with fervor, looking for the next one that I need. There's always something new and more and more and new that I haven't learned and that I must, must, must!

Of course, I'm being dramatic, but I do love learning about writing. After a while I've noticed much of the advice overlaps and repeats. Occasionally I find new gems though it is becomming less and less nowdays.

It seems that I've reached a point where I've learned as much as I need to, and it's time to stop reading and start writing.

On an interesting note, though, I haven't read On Writing yet, though I don't intend to. I've never really been a fan of Stephen King. *Ducks*

But out of all the books I own, including fiction and non-fiction, I feel I've learned more about writing from short-story anthologies than from any of the instructional books. Seeing skilled writers in their element is the best instruction I've found.

With all the info I've soaked up, I noticed a similar sort of thinking paralysis that can happen.

Okay, am I writing a scene or a sequel here? What part of my motivation-reaction unit am I at? This is after the midpoint reversal, so I have to remember my Hidden Need Triplet. Is this the False Opponent-Ally or the False Ally-Opponent? Does this plot twist relate to my character's internal knot? Does my antagonist correlate correctly with my hero's archetype?

For a short time I was actually thinking this stuff during the first draft, and more! I was calculating percentages to balance between description, dialogue, action, and internalization as well.

It resulted in me not being able to write a damn thing.

So now, what I do is, whenever I can, I write, write, write! As fast I can. Pedal to the floorboard, not allowing my fingers to stop, unless my house is on fire, my neighbors are being attacked by aliens, or a wild gerbal is eating my face.

Only after I've completed a story in draft form like this, do I then go back and identify any analytical components. Where is the inciting incident? How are the scenes? MRU's in place?


I find it's much easier to mold a wet lump of clay by groping blindly with hands and fingers first. Only after it starts to resemble something do I then go in with the tools.

And when I need inspiration, I read the kind of writing that I want mine to most closely resemble. If you don't have any authors whose fiction you aspire to, find them, asap!

Hope any of that helps!

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