Thursday, January 20, 2011

How To

Sometimes, when writing just doesn't do it for me, I like to read books on the craft of writing. How many of you like books like that, those "how to write" books? All of those who do, raise your hands.

That many, hey? Hurray, I'm not alone!

Seriously, now, which is your favourite "how to" book? I have read one that is an absolute must-have. It's called "No More Rejections" by Alice Orr, and it is fabulous! She really pinpoints the elements of a stellar manuscript, and gives fantastic tips on how to compose a perfect manuscript. There's a little section on sex and love scenes that I don't really like, because she gets a little too familiar about what to include in an adult novel, but other than that, the book is great.

For fantasy writers, check out Orson Scott's Card's "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy." Heavens, but that man is a masterful writer! After reading his book, I was inspired beyond inspiration to get myself published. He's that good, and that motivational. It was amazing.

There's another book I love, that I found at Barnes and Noble one time. It's called "The Little Red Writing Book", written by Brandon Royal, and there's nothing in it that's not to love. It's got these lovely black-and-white illustrations that complement the simple, funny style of the book. It reveals twenty "powerful principles of structure, style, and readability," defining each principle with examples, exercises, and the occasional anecdote. It's a wonderful read, and it's adorable, too. It's fun to read just for the pictures and the exercises.

One other book that I think is awesome is one called "Police Procedure and Investigation" by Lee Lofland. That is a fantastic read. It's part of a "Howdunit" series, of which I own "Police Procedure" and "Forensics." There's another one, about poisons, that I really want to get.

Oh, and there's this writer's toolbox that looks like fantastic fun. Just as an aside. It looks super cool and fun. Here's a link, so you can peruse it and drool, too. The Writer's Toolbox: By Jamie Cat Callan.

What sort of "how to" books do you like? Which do you own, and which ones do you recommend?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I have too many to list. I like writing magazine subscriptions the best. The tidbits of information are more current.

  3. My favorite, hands down, is On Writing by Steven King. Very inspiring and unpretentious. Your OSC sci-fi/fantasy writing book recommendation sounds interesting too! I think I may take a look at that one on amazon. Thanks for the tip.

  4. I haven't heard of some of these. My ultimate fav, although I have a few, is James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure. I truly believe he gave me the courage to step out and say, "Yup, I'm a writing."

    Nice blog, shocked I hadn't been over yet. ";-) Thanks for the comment over on YAlitchat. Looking forward to getting to know you.

  5. I have quite a few, including ones on writing queries and finding an agent. To be honest, I haven't picked one up in awhile. Now I think maybe I should.

  6. Mine is Write in Style and You Can Write a Novel. I continuously refer back to them.

  7. Catherine, I've heard about Steven King's "On Writing." I think I'll have to get that one. IT's another on my "to get" list.

    Raisingmarshmallows, (LOVE that name!) I agree. Magazine subscriptions do have some of the best tips, don't they?

    Thanks for the sweet comment, Sheri. I'm glad you like my online home.

    Kelly, LOL. I understand completely! Which agent ones do you have? I need to start getting some of those.

    Shelly, I haven't read "Write in Style." That's another "to get", I guess!

  8. I could not more heartily endorse Robblogger's Don't Go There A look at travel.

    Not strictly speaking a how to book, but perhaps a how-not-to travel book.

    I might be a little biased as I wrote the mess.

    I love your writng, and if you have time to wade through 67 pages I'ld love for you to have a free free free copy.

    Maybe not free as I am posting my website here in the hopes of getting a few extra views, so you have earned it by virtue of your patience and understanding in the face of my shameless self promotion.

    If you'ld like a copy hit me up at

    I really do enjoy your blog.

    Love, love, love

  9. Well thank you for the comment! That made me feel very special. I'm glad you love love love my blog. I rather love love love it too. It's a sort of haven for me.

  10. Hmmm. YOU'RE pretty much my "how to" book, Cat. :)

  11. Well thank you very much. :-*


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