The one book every aspiring author should read...

Our "How To" forum. Share your tips and techniques for being a better writer.

Moderator: Bmat

User avatar
clknaps
Site Regular
Site Regular
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:59 am
Location: A different place every day

The one book every aspiring author should read...

Post by clknaps »

And the answer is...I have no idea, I was hoping to get everyone's thoughts on this matter. I'm looking for a book or some books to help me form my ideas into writing that people will actually enjoy reading.

My grammar & spelling is sound (though I always try to brush up on those skills), so I think I'm looking more for a book discussing content, plot development and characterization as it relates to speculative fiction.
For you published folks out there, what book has helped you the most?

Thanks in advance! CLK
She sells seashells by the seashore.
Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
I shot the city sheriff.

User avatar
Chaeronia
New User
New User
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:11 am
Location: England
Contact:

Post by Chaeronia »

I'll be the first to say it: On Writing by Stephen King. Half biographical, half How To..., it's an excellent read. Informative, informal and entertaining. Highly recommended.
'There's a vampire, dad. It's trying to get me.'
'I know, son,' he said softly. 'I saw it.'
'You saw it?'
'Yeah. I broke its bloody neck. I won't have no vampires in my house.'

User avatar
clknaps
Site Regular
Site Regular
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:59 am
Location: A different place every day

Post by clknaps »

Chaeronia wrote:I'll be the first to say it: On Writing by Stephen King. Half biographical, half How To..., it's an excellent read. Informative, informal and entertaining. Highly recommended.


Thank you Chaeronia, I'll add that to my shopping cart. :D CLK
She sells seashells by the seashore.
Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
I shot the city sheriff.

User avatar
Bread Butterbeard
Forum Addict
Forum Addict
Posts: 939
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 6:35 am
Location: Haunting the ruins of Applegate
Contact:

Post by Bread Butterbeard »

I myself shall recommend "Sometimes the Magic works" by Terry Brooks, worth the read IMO.
"The world you know is over Grandmaster Shard, will you stand and fight for your people, or let them slip into darkness?" Tartikoff Greenwood to Brayan James Shard

Fifthwind, Terry Brooks, Legends

User avatar
Magus
Writer Extraordinaire
Writer Extraordinaire
Posts: 10536
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 5:34 pm
Location: Illinois
Contact:

Post by Magus »

On Writing is absolutely entertaining and amusing, especially the first half. The advice he gives on the subject of writing, however, is so... commonplace. It's something you can find virtually anywhere, and always the first to be told to anybody aspiring in the field. I've read it, and will continue to read it, for it's entertaining and witty text, although not for its writing advice (except that bit about the desk, which is the best part in the entire book, and verilly the best tid-bit on the subject that I've ever heard).

fuddy
Just Registered
Just Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:51 am
Location: Colorado

Post by fuddy »

"Self editing for fiction writers", Renni Brown & Dave King

"How to write science fiction & fantasy", Orson Scott Card

"The elements of style", Strunk & White

User avatar
clknaps
Site Regular
Site Regular
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:59 am
Location: A different place every day

Post by clknaps »

fuddy wrote:"Self editing for fiction writers", Renni Brown & Dave King

"How to write science fiction & fantasy", Orson Scott Card

"The elements of style", Strunk & White


I've got the last one there, I'll have to look up the other two. Thanks to everyone who gave me their "two cents" it is very much appreciated.

Cheers,
CLK
She sells seashells by the seashore.
Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
I shot the city sheriff.

User avatar
aldan
Artisan Wordsmith
Artisan Wordsmith
Posts: 3886
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 11:46 am
Location: Ohio, right now...
Contact:

Post by aldan »

Well, you shouldn't thank Magus for his two cents, because he obviously hasn't any sense at all....
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and to appear stupid than
to open it and remove all doubt."
---Mark Twain

User avatar
clknaps
Site Regular
Site Regular
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:59 am
Location: A different place every day

Post by clknaps »

aldan wrote:Well, you shouldn't thank Magus for his two cents, because he obviously hasn't any sense at all....


YOU, my friend, are a "pot-stirrer." And I mean that in the most delightful way.

CLK
:)
She sells seashells by the seashore.
Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
I shot the city sheriff.

User avatar
aldan
Artisan Wordsmith
Artisan Wordsmith
Posts: 3886
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 11:46 am
Location: Ohio, right now...
Contact:

Post by aldan »

*aldan looks around, then pulls his halo off, polishes it, puts it back on, looks in a mirror and straightens it*
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and to appear stupid than
to open it and remove all doubt."
---Mark Twain

User avatar
dragon13writer
New User
New User
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:28 pm
Contact:

Post by dragon13writer »

My fav desk reference lately would be How To Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat. It isn't aimed at any type of fantasy or scifi but it is aimed at mystery and suspense which are the basis for many scifi/fantasy stories. I use it to stimulate ideas. She explains how things have been done before. For instance she suggest in the middle of a murder mystery a second corpse should show up and it should be someone you least expected to be a corpse. I switched it around to where the mentor became the villian turning my novel from mystery to suspense in the middle. Yes there is a fantasy twist, he is a vampire. You should try it out. It's one of the few I got all the way through.

I also liked Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.

User avatar
starweaver
Just Registered
Just Registered
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:52 pm
Location: Tesuque, NM

Re: The one book every aspiring author should read...

Post by starweaver »

I've been posting some reviews on the "books and authors" board - you might want to have a look. More are on the way.

My bottom line: The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing + How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (O. S. Card) + books from the Write Great Fiction series on whatever areas of writing you find especially challenging or want to work on

A couple excellent "enrichment" books: Stephen King's On Writing and Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft. Both are like spending a weekend with a great writer, but are too personal and eccentric in scope to serve as textbooks on writing.

Post Reply