Forget about between novels! How about between first draft and revising? And revising again. And throw in a total rewrite! How do we make sure we’re bringing something new to the table keyboard.
Write. Write. Write.
Pretty vague, huh? I think so too. More specifically: free writing, journal writing, writing exercises, writing prompts, letters or diaries from your main character – nothing can take the place of real writing.
Read. Read. Read.
Again, kinda vague. I read a lot too but it wasn’t necessarily improving my craft by leaps and bounds. But there are a few, okay more than a few, books that increased my knowledge of putting words to paper so people want to read them.
Drum roll, please. Or not.
- Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King (Packed full of good stuff esp. for newbie writers and great reminders for the more experienced.)
- Story by Robert McKee (OMG Totally awesome! It’s a book filled with screen writing tips and those seem to be the best kind. A bit technical – but loaded with storytelling basics!)
- Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (Clearly he is the guru of writing craft books, even though I consistently forget the second ‘s’ in his last name. Sorry Mr. Maass. From tension to conflict to characters to making your writing BIG – this is a great resource)
- Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. (As an experienced writer I didn’t get as much from the entire book. But there were a couple chapters on scenes and micro tension that made it worth it. In fact, one chapter steered my revision process in a completetly new way.)
- Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham (This book doesn’t seem to get mentioned a lot. But it breaks down how to use the scene and sequel for pacing. And pacing is a huge reason manuscripts get rejected. – okay I don’t know the break down of why manuscripts get rejected for sure, but it seems pacing can be a bugger.)
Did you know Jody Hedlund has a page listing books on craft? Check it out. I have to pick and choose which craft books to read or I’d never write.
And this wonderfully interesting amazing post on craft books and classes I’ve taken (not many) would not be complete without mentioning Margie Lawson. I purchased her packet for Empowering Characters’ Emotions and her Deep Edits system. Both worth it. You will be a better writer after her courses.
And, let’s see how many other things I can throw at you. Along with the read, read, read thing is the ‘read and break down, read and break down’ thing. Learning by breaking down published books. Check out Alexandra Sokoloff for details. And check out my post on Dissecting Frogs on the topic.
So, wow, about 400 words later, it’s time to wrap this baby up. What do you do in the inbetween to make sure you are growing as a writer?