Friday, November 13, 2015

Writing: Resources

If you ask me what it takes to be a writer, I guess it's sort of like the old joke about the New York tourist asking how to get to Carnegie Hall, and getting the answer, "Practice, practice, practice." In order to write you have to write...and write...and write some more. But there's more to it than that. Your work should be critiqued by someone who is knowledgeable. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this may hurt. You may even be tempted to argue. But think about it, and usually you'll find that--although you might believe it's tantamount to sacrilege to change a word of your masterpiece--the suggested changes will make the work better.

But there are other things that a writer can do. They can attend classes given by experienced writers. If you can't afford the travel and registration costs, look in your own back yard. Here in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area there are several groups that meet regularly, and they often have speakers presenting worthwhile material. I imagine the same is true in most places.

Then there are the writing books. If you only buy one, start with James Scott Bell's book on plot and structure. Get a book on self-editing, like the one by Browne and King. And unless you're a genius at punctuation, you might want a book about that as well. I found Noah Lukeman's book, A Dash of Style, to be both informative and entertaining, believe it or not. Are those three all you need? Not by a long shot. My shelf of reference books is full and overflowing, and I've read every one of them. Most are highlighted and dogeared. Just like "There's always room for Jello," no matter how many books you've written, there's always room for improvement.

What is your absolute, very favorite resource for writing? I'd like to know.

Tweet with a single click: "Writers depend on resources, including these." Click here to tweet.

NOTE: My novella, Silent Night, Deadly Night, is now available for Kindle. The print version will follow shortly. I've initially priced it at $1.99 for the ebook and $4.99 for the print, but that will go up by a dollar for each version after Thanksgiving.

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