I want to be a writer. And a good one. Very nice aims with tons of stuff to help. In fact, merely taking a look at Amazon’s relating section can result in eyes shining in awe, drooling, frowning and running away screaming – in this specific order.
I’m a really curious person and a good learner. When I want to do something, I want to do it well and I want to learn from the best in the discipline. I formulate a strategy, do some extensive research about available material, rank them by cost and value and then I act. Problem is, there’s so much material that seems to be really the best that it’s extremely hard to pick out the stuff meant for me. Because there must be some stuff meant for me out there, like some sites and books I’ve already found and learned from.
It’s lucky that Amazon has the ‘Wish List’ option, but again, when I checked my ‘writing guides’ and ‘fantasy’ wish lists before Christmas, I had to give up choosing just a few and ended up ordering none.
I’ve recently started using the ‘fantasy’ and whatever books I’m reading for entertainment in English to improve, well, my English, which always feels like a crucial and urgent task for me. At the moment, I have a Northern Lights paperback (one of two, to be sure) to take notes – yes, notes inside the book, which seemed awkward when I first tried but I’m getting used to now, and which I find extremely useful for grasping grammatical nuances, extending my vocabulary faster and analyzing story structure, character building and other story elements.
As for writing guides, here’s a collection of what I have or will have very soon, by area or skill to improve:
- English: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression;
The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment;
Style: The art of writing well (Harriman Modern Classics);
It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences
- Story: Story Engineering;
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers;
Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
- Characterization: 45 Master Characters;
A Writer’s Guide to Characterization: Archetypes, Heroic Journeys, and Other Elements of Dynamic Character Development;
The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
- Other (editing, psychology, whatnot): When Every Month is NaNoWriMo;
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View
- And marketing, of course: We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media
The titles and descriptions sound very promising. Now I wonder how many of these are as good as they sound (some I already know are great).
Oh, I’m also currently reading How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play. It has some real great insights and ideas about the creative part of our mind and how you can strengthen it. More on this later.
Has anyone read or heard of any of the above works? What categories and guides would you add?