Paul Darcy Bowles’ “StoryCrafting”

Paul Darcy Bowles' "StoryCrafting" offers a good toolbox for writers at any point in their career

StoryCrafting is (so far) one of the best all-around books I’ve read on the art of writing. For one thing, Bowles spends a great deal of the book on revision/revising and gets into specifics; things to look for, things to be aware of, what not to do, what to definitely do, … Lots of books talk about revision/revising while not offering much about the mechanics of doing so (my opinion). Bowles also provides ample insight on subjects like POV, Character, Plot, Scene, … It’s truly an good toolbox for anyone learning their craft.

The best part of this is that Bowles demonstrates his process while honoring yours. He makes suggestions for your process and in the end, if something’s working for you and you know it’s working for you, don’t change it. Figure out why/how it’s working and make it better.

Sage words, that.

The book also has open exercises, meaning you do the exercise and here are the guidelines by which to judge how well you did. There’s no correct or incorrect way to do something – Bowles repeatedly emphasizes this – there’s only the way that works for you. To that point, the book is written by a mentor, not a teacher per se, Bowles works hard to make sure he (and you) are not stuffing you in a box of preconceived concepts on “how to do it”. StoryCrafting is a book by a guide, someone who’s traveled the land of Authorship many times before. He’ll take you to the dangerous places if you really want to go there and only if that’s what you need to do. Similarly, he encourages you to explore so you can learn on your own.
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Pesky commas, Da Vinci's pockets and more

[[Note: This post previously appeared on my Patreon page as free content. I’m moving all the free Patreon content to this blog and using Patreon for sponsored content. Click on over and sponsor me there. Lots of good stuff!]]

Do you revise? Do you get something down once then go over it again? And again and again? And again?

No, scratch that last “And again?” It’s too much.

No, it’s good. It adds emphasis. It demonstrates emotional commitment on the part of the author.

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Janet Burroway’s “Writing Fiction”

A Gift to Writers Throughout Their Careers

Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction has been on my bookshelf for (estimating) 20+ years. I picked up a used copy back when I made my first pass at fiction writing not realizing I’d plucked a diamond from a trash pile. My writing coach, Rich Marcello, suggested I give it a read.

The title sounded familiar when Rich suggested it. I’d added the book to my collection and hadn’t touched it since I put it on my shelf. This is one of those “When the student is ready, the teacher will be there” things. I wouldn’t have appreciated Writing Fiction 20+ years ago. Rich suggested Writing Fiction about a year ago and I’ve just completed my first read.
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