We're ramping up a new book club, starting today.
Because a lot of us come to this board to talk about writing, it seems like a pretty natural choice to host a monthly book club where we read books about writing.
To get started, let's make a list of books about writing, especially if they're newer or lesser-known but still good. We'll plan out the titles for the next few months, and we'll throw a classic in there (On Writing, Bird By Bird, Writing Down The Bones, so on).
With all that said, welcome to this, your first book club meeting. Throw out some titles so we can get to pickin', get to readin', and then get to writin'!
Here are some titles I'm looking at right now:
Catching The Big Fish by David Lynch
The One-Hour MFA by Michael Kimball
All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from The Toxic Avenger by Lloyd Kaufman
The Elements of Style
Yeah, not totally writing-focused. But creative and creating focused.
Here's the titles I can remember reading off the top of my head. I think Story and Story Grid were the most helpful from a blank sheet. Story Grid has elements from Story.
The Story Grid - Shawn Coyne
Story - Robert McKee
Characters and Viewpoint - Orson Scott Card
On Writing - Stephen King
Wriing Tools - Roy Peter Clark
Story Engineering - Larry Brooks
I love Stephen King, but didn't get much out of his book in terms of tips on writing. The main take away was that I should have started 20 years ago. It was also the most recent book, so by that point, a lot of the tips I was used to.
I would also be intereseted in books that highlight a certain skill (view point, structure, etc.). For example, I read a series of unfortunate events to my kids. The prose hooked me. The words built a smooth energy and rythm.
Charles Mosley, author of "Devil in the Blue Dress" and creator of the Easy Rawlins series. His style is a study in first person story telling. Simple, and deep, unpretentious and fascinating.
"This Year You Write Your Novel" published in about 2006 or 2007. I guess his work would usually be put in Crime/Noir. I like his style a lot. His book on writing is slim and packed.
excerpt from page 14,
" a final note about process ..
"The process of writing a novel is like taking a journey by boat. You have to continually set yourself on course. If you get distracted or allow yourself to drift, you will never make it to the destination. It's not like highly defined train tracks or a highway; this is a path that you are creating, discovering. The journey is your narrative. Keep to it and there will be a tale told."
Reminds me, I need to go order his new book.
Here's a full list of what's been suggested. I'm ready to get started, so let's get started.
If you want to put in a preference, list a couple you'd really like to do. If not, I'll roll some dice and come up with a first book.
This Year You Write Your Novel
"On Writing" by Stephen King is good, even if you don't like his books.
That being said, the craft essays available on this site are pure gold. Start with all of Palahnuik's essays (there are 40 of them). If you pick up even just 5% of what he teaches your writing will improve exponentially.
I also reccomend Craig Clevenger's essays. I've only just begun to dabble in some of the others.
The essays are excellent. Maybe we need a thread of close readings for those...
Okay, for our first book, I rolled a digital die, and we'll be doing Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark. I'll be putting up another thread and getting started!