books for writers
March 04, 2009
More of the Deborah Bouziden interview:
DB: What are three or four books writers should have on their shelves? And why these books?
SW: What a great question! I’m totally going to go over the limit here. All of these are books every writer should have, not just romance writers.
• Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain is probably out of print but well worth tracking down. It opened my mind to commercial elements in fiction, particularly pacing.
• Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway is a staple, so big and rich I find myself going back to it again and again. Don’t worry about the cover price. Just hold your nose and pay it.
• The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. (Full disclosure: I’m friends with Chris and his amazing wife Alice.) Chris loves it when I say this: He is a god to me. Seriously, the memo that became this book unlocked stories for me in a way nothing else ever has. I love this book so much I annotated my own.
• Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Al Zuckerman shows us how to take material apart and put it back together and why it’s not insanity to do so, again and again.
• Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass comes with a companion workbook, and both are must-haves. Don is one of the best brainstormers and story analysts I know. He has a unique understanding of what makes fiction work.
• Anything by Michael Hauge. He’s a story analyst, too, but comes at it from the perspective of screenwriting. His books and workshops are invaluable.
• Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle is more spiritual, about inspiration.
• If You Want to Write by Brenda Euland is also spiritual, about aspiration.