If you’re anything like me, you have a shelf of books about the craft of writing that you’ve diligently highlighted and filled with multi-colored post-its. But, how often do you revisit those books? Is all that knowledge getting dusty on the other side of the room?
One of my editing tasks for my current work-in-progress has been to revisit all the transitions between chapters. Some chapters bleed easily from one to the next. Some do not. I was stumped as to how to show the passage of two weeks, as well as the fact that the main character’s mental state was deteriorating, when my eyes fell on the overflowing bookshelves in my office. Duh. No need to bang my head against the wall, sage advice was right there waving pink and yellow paper flags at me from the other side of the room.
One of my favorite craft books is Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld. She lays out her points in clear, easily digested segments. Make a Scene is one of those books that is pleasant to read cover to cover, or to dip into for specific chapters. For instance, I went back and read just the chapter on ‘Strong Scene Launches’ where Rosenfeld discusses the merits of character, action, narrative, and setting launches. It was good to be reminded of all the different ways I could start the scene I was struggling with. Once I edited the chapter to begin with a setting opening, rather than a narrative opening, I think the chapters flow much better from one to the next.
Do you have favorite writing advice books that you refer back to over and over again? Some of my favorites are:
Between The Lines – Jessica Page Morrell
Plot – Ansen Dibell
Wired For Story – Lisa Cron
Manuscript Makeover – Elizabeth Lyon
Beginnings, Middles & Ends – Nancy Kress
Book Architecture – Stuart Horowitz
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