A good writer is always a student. We study how people walk and wonder how to describe the hitch in their stride or a particular luminous shade of green in the scene. We read and re-read our favorite authors trying to dissect exactly how did they manage to make me feel/see/hear/smell the action in a spice-filled marketplace or ice-glazed forest.
A host of books and posts support the writer in their quest for perfection.
A recent post by Kate Flora gave some terrific behind the scenes insights on how sharpening description sharpens our story. Four of Kate's go-to resources are:
- John Gardner's Art of Fiction
- David Grambs' The Describer’s Dictionary
- Rebecca McClanahan's Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively
- Rodale’s Synonym Finder
I surveyed a number of resources for this post and wasn't surprised that three of my go-to books were frequently cited.
- Stephen King's On Writing-A Memoir of Craft
- Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
- William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White's The Elements of Style
Do you write mysteries? Then read Hallie Ephron's book, Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel. This book is exactly what you need to help you through the maze of creating great characters, sharp settings, and twisty plots. This book is structured with Do It Yourself exercises to sharpen the lessons in each chapter.
But, hey. Don't take my word for it. Check out editionguard.com for more great books for writers.
Oh, and reading writing advice books is a legitimate way to stall from doing our real work. Writing a blog about it is even better. And reading such a blog means you're clicking around the Internet and not doing one damned productive thing.
Okay. Enough procrastingating. Get back to work!