On Writing

To quote Stephen King.

Like most writers, I own a shelf full of “how to write” books, most of which I should probably take to the used book store, because I’m not a “how to write” book reader, on the whole.  That said, these four books on writing and one on marketing did make a huge difference in my writing career, so here they are.


Cameron, Julia, with Mark Bryan, The Artist’s Way:  A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. 1992, G.P. Putnam’s Sons.  I keep coming back to this book and working through it whenever I get stuck on a personal level.  It’s not about how to write something specific, it’s about how to be creative, period.

Dixon, Debra, Goal, Motivation, and Conflict:  The Building Blocks of Good Fiction.  1996, Gryphon Books for Writers.  This is the second book (see Vorhaus, below, for the first) I pull off the shelf when I need to plot a new story.  It’s geared to romance writers, but it’s definitely more generally applicable.

Truant, Johnny, and Sean Platt, Write, Publish, Repeat:  The No-Luck Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success.  2013, Sterling and Stone.   The best book marketing guide I’ve run across so far, which is saying a fair amount.

Vogler, Christopher, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for
, 2nd edition. 1998, Michael Wiese Productions.  A good basic book on plotting, with many explained examples.

Vorhaus, John, The Comic Toolbox:  How to be Funny Even if You’re Not.  1994, Silman-James Press.  This book has to have the most misleading title in all of history.  Well, maybe not in all of history, but it’s up there.  This is the only book on plotting a story that made the lightbulb go off over my head and explained how plotting works in terms simple enough for me to understand.  Not even Vogler made sense to me until I’d read Vorhaus.  This is the first book I grab when I’m trying to sort out a new story.  Period.


http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/ Another plotting aid, this one’s called the Snowflake Method.  Can you tell plotting is my bête noire?

http://www.crayne.com/howcrit.html  Critiquing is not easy, but this helps.

http://hollylisle.com/  Lots of good, commonsense advice.

http://absolutewrite.com/  An enormous set of writers’ forums, with incredible amounts of information and opportunities for
interaction, if you’re not overwhelmed as I am by the sheer quantity of it all (not to mention the interface, which is nasty).  Well worth
struggling through if you’re feeling ambitious.

http://mmjustus.com/marketingresources.html  My personal marketing links page, created to facilitate (read prod me into) my own marketing efforts, but which might be useful to others as well.  It is a work in progress, and probably always will be, so might be worth checking back on occasionally to see if there are new additions to the list.