This series started out as a talk for conferences, morphed into a print book, then vanished when my publisher closed its doors in 2013. So I thought I’d bring the relevant parts back here on my website. I tried to update it a bit, but thankfully how to write doesn’t change as much as the technology we use TO write.
Bibliography for the articles:
Playwriting: The Structure of Action by Sam Smiley
Yale University Press
Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande – What I particularly liked about this book, and go back to when I’m in need of refreshing my spirit, is her upbeat attitude about the ability of anyone to become a writer. This is a pre-writing book, the one you read when you want to write, but don’t think you can.
Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher (March 1, 1981)
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Hands down, IMHO, one of the best self-editing books around. At the end of each chapter is a check list you can work off of as you go through your manuscript. It helps you look for words you use repeatedly and what mistakes mark you as an amateur. Caution: This is to be read after you have a rough draft, not while you’re still writing. Update: There are a lot of online tools that can help with some of these editing tools, but learning to know yourself and your problems areas is still a good skill to acquire.
Publisher: Collins; 2nd edition (April 1, 2004)
Writing the Breakout Novel – Another one of those books that lifts you to the next level of writing.
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; 1st edition (August 1, 2002)
Fiction Writer’s Brainstormer – This is a book I pull out when I need to do some hard core brainstorming.
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books (October 1, 2000)
The Screenwriter’s Workbook – This is another book I turn to, even when writing novels, because it helps me think about structure.
Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (September 1, 1988)
Careers for your Characters – This is a fun book if you need some quick info about a career. The book tells you not just what the job entails, but the kind of person who would be drawn to that career.
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; 1st edition (October 1, 2002)
The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits – This useful book contains profiles of human behaviors and personality types
Publisher: Writers Digest Books (February 1, 2004)
Making a Good Writer Great – This is a wonderful book for breaking through your personal “glass ceiling.”
Publisher: Silman-James Press; 1st Silman edition (September 15, 1999)
The Writer’s Digest Sourcebook for…Building Believable Characters – Another good resource for character development.
Publisher: Writers Digest Books; 1st ed edition (March 1, 1996)
GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict (1996)
Gryphon Books for Writers
Pauline’s Mayhem/Suspense Reading/Teaching List:
Her suspense books are without peer, in my humble opinion. She’s great at building suspense, characters and just plain story telling. She has a series of Merlin stories that are excellent but NOT suspense.
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Her books are great for building suspense slowly and carefully and without gore or many bodies. Worth study.
Great suspense, great writing.
While his books are typed as action/adventure, they have great suspense and are worth reading and studying to cull technique and how to craft action sequences.