Thursday, May 20, 2010
Books on Writing
This is all well and good, but seriously, how many books to we actually need? Oh, god I can hear it now from the writers who make a living on our insecurities. If I was to be perfectly honest with myself, I'd say that I only need 4, maybe 5 of the BOW I have. Am I going to tell you how many I actually have? Hell, no!!! Not because I don't want you to know, but because I don't feel like tracking them all down and counting it up for you.
I have books at the restaurant to read in my down time, books next to my bed, on the bookshelves in both my office and our library, and of course I have more next to my chair in the living room. Have I read all of them? No, not all. But then there are those I've read over and over. And those are the 4-5 that I should have stuck with. But they weren't the first books I purchased, so it's like boyfriends, and dates, you try them and if they don't fit you get another. Come to think of it, I dated a lot!
I could (and will) name the books I feel I can't live without, but mine will be different from yours. And I'm certainly not trying to sell you on the books, so I won't give the Amazon links to them (though I should, so I can make money if you buy them from my link). Over the last few months I've come to realize that I buy a book or two every time I have grave self-doubts about my writing. So needless to say, I'm book poor. In truth, other than my few staples, I should only have 1 book for every full manuscript or screenplay I've written. And I probably have at least 7 per or more.
Once again, I realize that the books are my excuse for not writing. "I should write. But I really don't know what I'm doing, so I should read this book first." Then half way through the book, "Seriously, I know this stuff, I should just write. Why is this so hard? I love writing." And so it goes...
You've heard the saying, "Walk much, or just read about it?" And that's my point. Reading about writing won't make us better writers, writing will. Want to play golf? You read a few magazines, take some lessons, maybe read a book about technique and rules, then you get out on the course and hit some balls!
So instead of buying that next book on writing, hit some balls, and by that I mean WRITE! Write, write, and then write some more. Don't think you can do it? Your inner critic laughing at you? You cringe when you hear the word shank? Then go out and get some practice. Reading about writing is not practice. Writing is practice.
So my "go to" books...Save the Cat, Rewrite, Dialogue, Screenplay and Conflict, Action & Suspense. Sure I have a few books on the business of writing, but those are only good after I've written something. And don't get me wrong, I've written a few things, but I always find an excuse not to finish, and that excuse comes in the form of another book to read.
Okay, I'm going to close my copy of Rewrite and work on my screenplay now. What are your go to books?
at 8:42 PM