Monday, June 6, 2011

See Jane Write

Ever since I started the querying process I've become addicted to learning about the entire writing process.

After receiving feedback from a few friends and publishing houses I thought it would be nice to start reading up on things I could use to improve my writing.

There is nothing wrong with the way I write. I love my stories, my ideas, my gift. There is also nothing wrong with perfecting your craft. Every great writer continues to learn. They have editors to help them throughout the process but they all started at the beginning. Right where a lot of us are.

On Writing by Stephen King was the first dose of awesome I received in the writing world. If anyone is new to writing and has yet to read it get your hands on it now. It's that good!

I hear others talk about their favorite writing books and I always make a note to write them down for later. I'm sure glad I did as well, it really pays off when I'm in a learning mood.

See Jane Write by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs was the last one I devoured. Designed for those who love to read and write Chick Lit. Though I've written a chick lit novel already I knew it wouldn't hurt to learn a little bit more. After all they say to learn something new every day... this book definitely offered that!

For me I'm not proud to announce that I can consider myself a plotter. I've spent the last few weeks just getting to know my characters and everything I'm about to put them through. I have to admit it gets me very excited and I already know it'll help with revisions. I'm not as scared as I used to be plotting, I no longer have the fear of writers block. See Jane Write really taught me a lot.

So what are your favorite writing novels? What one's have helped you?

Next on my list -The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

46 comments:

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Ah, I'm jealous of your new knowledge of educational books! I've always wanted to read the Elements of Style and never have. Alas, I've really never finished any of them. I know, naughty Lindsay. Maybe that's some of my summer reading:)

Christine Danek said...

I also have a hard time reading through a self help book. I tend to learn through doing, although I use self helps books like a quick reference. Maybe that slows me down, who knows.
I always love learning new things to strengthen the craft.
I also always thought I loved writing the first draft, but I may like revisions more.

Joanne said...

I've always heard good things about Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and have just now started it. She definitely has that writer's voice in delivering her wisdom that we can all connect to as writers.

Richard said...

WRITING CONTEST......My blog Amish Stories is having its first ever contest this week. The First prize winner will win 2 tickets to tour the farm where the 1985 move "Witness" staring Harrison Ford and Kelly Mcgillis was made in Strasburg,Pa . This farm is now Amish owned, and the family has given permission for folks to tour their farm. This may be the last time anyone will be able to walk and see the same things that Harrison Ford and the other actors saw during the making of "Witness". The Witness tour should last about 2.5 hours. In addition to the Witness farm tour tickets, 1st prize winner will also receive 2 tickets for Jacobs choice. There will also be a 2nd place prize, which will be 2 tickets for the Amish Homestead. Please go to My blog www.AmishStorys.com for contest details, and more information on the prizes. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon county.

Laura Pauling said...

See Jane Write sounds like a good book. I like Save the Cat, Self Editing for Fiction Writers, Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham... those are just a few.

Jessica Bell said...

You HAVE to read Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott. I felt like she was sitting next to me just having an awesome conversation. It felt personal. I could connect. I adored that.

salarsenッ said...

I admire your choice in admitting you're a plotter. I'm still riding the fence on that one. Once I finish these edits, I'm going to 'get to know' the MG characters in the series I'd half-written last year but also get to know the story better. I'm plotting to plot. :) (Book: James Scott Bell's Plot & Structure.)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I really love Deb Dixon's GMC. That really helped (helps) me a lot. I want to read Save the Cat though.

Tonja said...

Natalie Goldberg - Writing Down the Bones.

Matthew MacNish said...

On Writing
The Forest For the Trees
Bird by Bird
A Dash of Style

those are my favorites.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I always outline - wouldn't know how to do it otherwise. And I got a lot out of the Save the Cat books.

Talli Roland said...

Oh, I haven't heard of that book - must check it out! I love 'Bird by Bird', by Anne Lamott.

Angela Felsted said...

I really liked Blake Snyder's book: "Save The Cat!"

Clarissa Draper said...

I have read a lot of great books but I love How to Write and Sell Your Mystery Novel. But, I am a mystery novelist. I should read the Stephen King one.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've blogged about my fav books, but they include Donald Maass's workbook, Save the Cat (which is saving my wip right now), and Emotional structure. But these only but a few of my favorites.

I know someone who thinks because his books are published (by a tiny Canadian press) that he doesn't need to learn anything more about the craft. ROFL. And that's why he'll never amount to anything more than someone who has to sell his books out of the trunk of his car. ;)

Teenage Bride said...

you are tireless... I wish I had your dedication and motivation haha

Laura Marcella said...

I agree with you about the brilliance of Stephen King's "On Writing"! It's a terrific combination of inspiration, motivation, and practical advice. But there are so many books on writing I love!

"The Right to Write" by Julia Cameron and "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg are my favorite writing books that motivate and inspire.

"The Art of War for Writers" by James Scott Bell and "Writing the Breakout Novel" by Donald Maass are my favorite writing books about craft.

Good luck with your querying, Jen!!!

Melanie said...

i totally need to download that SK book onto my iPad like now!

i know i still have so much to learn regarding the craft of writing. i will always continue to do what i can to improve upon it.

the one book that i really loved on the craft of writing is Browne and King's Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. i have parts of that book highlighted and always suggest that one to friends.

Kristin Rae said...

I am ordering See Jane Write and On Writing because I haven't been able to find them anywhere. I do have Save the Cat though. Just started reading it.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

One of my all time favs is HOOKED by Les Edgerton. Serious, if you haven't read it yet, do so. It may change your life.
And don't beat yourself up over being a plotter. I am, and things still surprise the heck out of me as i write

nutschell said...

I love reading writing books. Sometimes they give contradictory tips or techniques, but its all part of discovering your own style---the more options you have, the more things you can try out til you find your own way as a writer. I love all the books you've listed here and I'll add the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall, The Power of The Dark Side by Pamela Jaye Smith and Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages. :)
nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Jess said...

Thanks for the recommendation~ I'm putting See Jane Write on my to-read list! I don't write chick lit, but I adore reading it (am about to devour another Sophie Kinsella novel when the kiddo goes down for a nap today). I enjoyed Stephen King's book too :)

Suzie F. said...

I loved Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and The Elements of Style sits on my computer table for easy reference.

Right now I'm reading Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner (her blog is excellent, btw) and will get to Donald Maas's, Writing the Breakout Novel this summer.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I love writing help books! I have a ton of them. None of which I can remember the names to at this moment. But they are great!

Susanne Drazic said...

Please stop by my blog to pick up an award I've nominated you for.

Colene Murphy said...

Sounds like a great one! Has something in it even if you don't write chick lit? Might just go pick it up! Glad you're learning still!

Colene Murphy said...

*Not that you need it. That sounded bitchy. After I hit send I was all "awe, well that could sound rude!" Not meant like that...;)

Laura said...

I loved See Jane Write too, great book!
Lx

Donea Lee said...

I always mean to read books on writing... :) I tend to opt for online writing workshops instead. But, it certainly never hurts to pick these books up. In fact, I'm almost sure I've got a copy of Elements of Style floating around my house somewhere.

Johanna Garth said...

I read Stephen King's On Writing and found it equally fabulous :) Must put See Jane Write on my list!

Stephsco said...

I recently read On Writing and loved it! (Went on directly to one of King's novels and did not enjoy it so much, but I still appreciate his advice). I have heard great things about Save the Cat and Bird by Bird, must be something about the animal tie-ins... I have them saved to my list.

Talei said...

I'm learning from reading alot more of the genre that I'm writing, I think that helps me. I've also bought a couple of books recommended by folks who critiqued me recently. ;-)

Jemi Fraser said...

I think I'm going to try an outline for my next story. It'll be brief, but I'm hoping it helps me avoid the silly plot holes I create!

Lisa Potts said...

On Writing is the best. Put Bird By Bird on your list though. It's great too. I'm getting ready to start Plot And Structure by James Scott Bell.

Christina Lee said...

Wow--go you (miss plotter)!!! Save The Cat and The Breakout Novel!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I thought I had all the writing books, but I'll have to check this one out. Thanks for the heads up. I'm always looking for a good "how-to-write" book.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Great suggestions. Thanks Jen.

Abby Minard said...

I've been needing to pick that Stephen King one up- I'll have to put it on hold at my library. I have Novel Metamorphosis out right now, but haven't read much of it yet. I read a great one on how to write fantasies a couple years ago. I'll have to try to find the title.

Brenda Sills said...

I loved PENCIL DANCING by Mari Messer! It was one of the first writing books I ever read, and after reading many more, it's still one of my favorites. I jotted down so many quotes from her book. :D
THANK YOU for following my blog and for your fantastic comment! (I left you a note there.)
You better get reading girl, you have alot of recommended books in these here comments! :D

Miss Caitlin S. said...

I love how much time and energy you're putting into not just your work but the craftsmanship behind it. I think the key is find the writing style that works for you and then just put pen to paper.

Michelle said...

I like the two writing books by William Foster-Harris. The Basic Patterns of Plot and The Basic Formulas of Fiction. They're way out-of-print, though, and a bit hard to find.

Jennie Bailey said...

The Elements of Style was required reading in college. I still have my copy! Love that book as a reference. Hooked by Les Edgerton is excellent as well. That's up at the top of my list! You always have such great blog posts, Jen!!!

Ellie Garratt said...

I have a lot of writing books (I'm a bit of an addict) but the two that stand out far above the rest are On Writing and Elements of Style. Two essential books for writers!

Ellie Garratt

Theresa Milstein said...

Stephen King's writing book has been my favorite so far. Hooked by Les Edgerton comes in a close 2nd. I've heard so many good things about Save the Cat.

Len Lambert said...

I've read Stephen King's On Writing...will check out the others you've mentioned. I also like Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

So far, On Writing was my favorite. I'm always looking for suggestions, so See Jane Write sounds great. I've heard several recommendations for Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation and Conflict (GMC). She's also a great speaker if you ever have the chance.

I'm a pantser, but I do research to begin with and write down ideas that pop into my head, so maybe that is a little bit of plotting? I guess it all depends on how one looks at it. Thanks for the recommendations!

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