Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Three books every writer should own: Book 3

Now you’ve got that first draft or maybe the 2nd or 3rd and it needs a good edit. Money is tight, the critique group is taking too long, or you just want to present the very best you can do before you hire that editor or present it to your critique group or both. I recommend the next book.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, 2nd edition, by Renni Browne and Dave King.

So, you are trying to convey how angry your character is without saying something stupid like, his temper became so hot he burst into flames, unless he is a magician or a phoenix he wouldn’t be able to do this anyway. But you really want to let the reader know how angry he is so after his heated exchange you say a word to describe his temper instead of the word ‘said.’ No, do not do that. Use description to describe his temper and well chosen words s/he will voice. The explanation for this is well presented by Browne and King in their book.

Another easy mistake we make is telling about why the character is doing what they are doing instead of letting the reader experience the characters motivations and their habits or work ethic (select example and insert) along with the character. This is called Show don’t Tell, Browne and King have included a chapter on it. I think a lot of writers do this especially in their first draft, so learning how to recognize Show don’t Tell will spare you a lot of frustration.

To tag or not to tag; no I’m not talking about the game you played when you were a kid. This means that you tell the reader who is speaking. Or the before mentioned s/he said. There seems to be a lot of opinion out there about this subject. I have heard numerous do this and don’t do that and each varies considerably. In Self-Editing for the Fiction Writers, Browne and King give clear examples of this every problem so you will never be confused again. I’m for that, how about you?

All in all there are twelve chapters on essential aspects to your story:
1. Show and Tell
2. Characterization and Exposition
3. Point of View
4. Proportion
5. Dialogue Mechanics
6. See How it Sounds
7. Interior Monologue
8. Easy Beats
9. Breaking up is Easy to do
10. Once is usually enough
11. Sophistication
12. Voice

Do you have a favorite book on writing that you refer to time and again? Please share it with us and thanks for stopping by.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That one has been recommended to me before. Guess I should take it as a sign.

N. R. Williams said...

Yes indeed Alex. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I'm still looking for my second favorite book on writing. My loft is a bit disorganized at the moment. I have a 30% off coupon for Borders so I'll look at your recommendations this weekend, either at the store or online.

Stephen Tremp

N. R. Williams said...

Good idea Stephen, it's always a good idea to save money. I'm glad you're checking into it.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds like a useful book for my reference shelf! Thanks, Nancy. :)

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome Elizabeth. Thanks for stopping by.

Jules said...

I have made Written notes of Books 1 and 3. Thank you for the information. It is nice to have such helpful bloggers out here. :D
Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome Jules, I am glad you found my information useful. Thanks for stopping by.

Helen Ginger said...

If you find a book like this one that you feel really helps improve your writing, I recommend you buy it instead of checking it out of the library or borrowing from a friend. That way you can highlight and dog ear it and have it on hand to review.


N. R. Williams said...

I absolutely agree Helen. Thanks for stopping by.

Mayra Calvani said...

This looks like a good book to add to my reference shelf. Another good one is:

The First Five Pages, by Noah Lukeman.

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks for the tip Mayra.

QuadsMoon said...
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