|writing books nevermore?|
I don't, not really. There are about 1000 creative writing books that give good, solid advice, advice I could use. But I made a mistake with writing books. I bought them by the truck load before I began writing.
This isn't as daft as it sounds. I like to learn from books, so when I was getting married I bought married-type books. When I was pregnant, I bought baby-having books. I like to be prepared, though I'm woefully aware that how-to books only give you a foundation, a peek at a real experience.
So I figured writing how-to books would do the same. They'd help me understand what was involved. You don't read a cookbook after the souffle has flattened into a discus, do you? So I figured I had to read as many writing books as I could before getting started.
If I'd known myself better, I would have realized that this was grade A procrastination. Another problem was that everything described in the how-tos was abstract. Don't use these dialogue tags. Show don't tell. Make the reader feel the emotion. These books always have example text included to show good writing and bad. The good writing is always the Great Gatsby and the bad writing is always someone you've never heard of. But until I had completed my own book and revised the crap out of it, until I understood writing terms not only intellectually but by instinct, all that advice was so much noise.
Until. (You knew that was coming.)
Hooked by Les Edgerton
Hooked is about beginnings and how getting the beginning right can have a positive knock on effect on your whole book. The beginning is a microcosm of the whole book. And if it isn't in your book, you may have a problem.
But here's the amazing part. After reading the first three chapters of Hooked, I knew what to do. I mean, I knew exactly what was missing in my first chapter. And a new scene, with Fin, Hero, a cleaver and a chicken, bloomed in my mind, complete. It was perfect. In a short, mundane kind of scene, I set up characters, set up conflict, story problem, surface problem AND foreshadowed the end. SLAM DUNK.
I couldn't have done that without writing BookEnd first. I wouldn't have understood what was missing. I sure as heck couldn't have come up with a solution without understanding my book the way I do now that it's finished.
So, if you are just starting to write and you haven't finished your book, I say save your money for lattes and chocolate to get you to the writing finish line. Then get Hooked. It will open your eyes.
What's your favorite writing book?