I just love reading books: novels, historical fiction, political commentary, and, of course, writing books. Last year I made a list of 12 writing books I wanted to read. One a month would be easy enough, right?
Some months, yes, others, no. Like always, the reality and the plan don’t always match up. My original list was:
• Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
• Write Away by Elizabeth George
• How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
• The Craft of Writing Science Fiction that Sells by Ben Bova
• On Writing Well by William Zinsser
• On Writing by Steven King
• Revising Prose by Richard Landham
• Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
• The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
• Words that Work by Frank Lunz
• Lapsing into a Comma by Bill Walsh
• Intent to Sell by Jeffrey Marks
I managed to read all but four (click the links for my reviews). Two are on my list for 2014 (Lapsing into a Comma and Intent to Sell). The Artist’s Way is about creativity, and while I’m intrigued, my over-active imagination is keeping my creativity flowing. I may come back to this one some time.
Revising Prose is going to have to be on a wish list. The local library doesn’t have it, and amazon sells it for $42. When the others are in the library or sell for less than $20 range, I’ll have to be really convinced I want to read it to pay that much. Maybe someday I’ll get it as a Christmas present, or find it at a resale shop.
What’s on my list for 2014?
1. Lapsing into a Comma by Bill Walsh. I’m still looking for ways to avoid grammar and other mistakes, especially in tough situations, such as those involving foreign words. Reviewers seem to either love or hate this book, so I’m curious to check it out.
2. I have high hopes for Intent to Sell by Jeffrey Marks, as I need lots of help learning how to sell a novel, especially in a genre like fantasy.
3. Character, Viewpoint and Emotion is one of the Writer’s Digest series. I’ve already gleaned a lot from the first six chapters, so I’m sure finishing will be worth my time.
4. Dialogue is another from Writer’s Digest.
5. Self-editing for the Fiction Writer by Renni Brown and Dave King gives specific ways to edit your own work.
6. The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell offers strategies and exercises for improving fiction.
7. Fine Tuning Fiction by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is another that helps authors take their work to the next level.
8. Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card has been recommended by many bloggers. I learned a lot from his other book, so this one will definitely get a try.
9. How to get Good Reviews on Amazon by Theo Rogers claims to reveal the inside secrets of how to get lots of good reviews from the amazon community.
10. Write Publish Repeat by Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt promises to explain to authors how to turn their writing into a sustainable business.
11. Setting is yet another from Writer’s Digest. This is a great example of a reader trying out a series, and if the first one satisfies, will keep coming back for more.
12. Jab Jab Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk promises to help writers create a more effective social media strategy.
13. The Rise of the Machines by Kristen Lamb is also on social media. She shares how to make the whole exercise more human and sociable, which is after all, the point.
I know that’s 13 and not 12, but being the book lover I am, can’t bring myself to stop at just an even dozen. I have the same problem with chocolates. Or pretzels.
What about you? What books will you be reading this year to develop your skills? I’d love to hear in the comments about what you’ll be reading this year!