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2.2 Recommended Reading List: Writing Fiction part4




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This article is from the misc.writing Recommended Reading List FAQ, by Terry L Jeffress jeffress@xmission.com with numerous contributions by others.

2.2 Recommended Reading List: Writing Fiction part4

Perry, Susan K. "Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity"
Cincinnatti, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 1999. ISBN 0-89879-
929-5 hardcover, 274 pp., $19.99.

For this "Los Angeles Times" bestseller, 76 top novelists and
poets were interviewed to find out how they enter "flow," that
timeless state of mind from which so much of the most creative
writing emerges. Pulitzer Prize winners and bestselling
authors alike, from Jane Smiley to Sue Grafton to Robert
Pinsky, share their most intimate experiences related to the
creative process. In addition to a careful analysis of what
works and why, this compulsively readable volume features
questions and answers posed by writers, as well as exercises
and insights that should help any writer, whether novelist,
poet, essayist, or nonfiction writer, to face the blank page
with more pleasure and more satisfying results.
-- Susan K. Perry, Ph.D. <http://www.bunnyape.com>

Reed, Kit. "Revision." Writer's Digest Books, 1989. ISBN 0-89879-
350-5, hardcover. Out of print.

A decent book on revising and rewriting, though I personally
found most of it pretty self-evident.

Spinrad, Norman. "Staying Alive: A Writer's Survival Guide."
Donning, 1983. ISBN 0-89865-259-6, softcover. Out of print. <p
clas Out of print.

Spinrad's "Writer's Survival Guide," is, as I recall, quite
out of date, but good reading. Spinrad is always idiosyncratic
(when he's deeply sincere, he appears to lapse "out" of
profanity!), and a lot of the book was columns he'd written
about the then-state of the sf market.

Zuckerman, Albert. "Writing the Blockbuster Novel." Writer's
Digest Books, 1994. ISBN 0-89879-598-2, hardcover, 218 pp.,
$18.99.

If Zuckerman's title seems designed to snare every dreamer,
don't be put off. "Writing the Blockbuster Novel" actually
delivers on the promise, and I speak from personal experience.
This is not only a review, it is a testimonial.

In clear terms, Zuckerman explains the things a book "must"
have in order for it to gain massive appeal in the
marketplace. "WTBN" shows you why some books make the rest of
your world vanish, and others (even by the same author) don't.
Zuckerman uses many real-world examples from a handful of
familiar blockbuster novels to illustrate his points. Author
Ken Follett allowed Zuckerman (his agent) to include his
first, second, third, and final outlines for "The Man From St.
Petersburg." Seeing how Follett went from a not-very-good
outline to a gripping story is especially useful. Zuckerman
also shows why Follett's early books (originally published in
England) are not nearly as good as "The Eye of the Needle" and
subsequent efforts.

I read "WTBN" in the spring of 1995 when I was almost done
with the first draft of my first novel, "Unintended
Consequences." Zuckerman made me see how some relatively
simple changes would make my story much more compelling. A
month later I had a contract with a little no-name house that
had never before published a work of fiction. Today this 860-
page first novel is in its third hardcover printing, and is
the biggest seller the publisher has ever had. I have offers
for the movie rights and a contract for the sequel. If I had
not read read Zuckerman's book, these things would not have
happened.
-- John Ross <jfross@ix.netcom.com>

 

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