BY NANCY KAY CLARK
Copyright is held by the author.
Putting together your holiday gift list? Consider these two writer-craft titles.
Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee
For writers struggling with plot and narrative arc, this book lays out plainly the classic three act structure for you to follow — or not. Even though it’s about screenwriting, the book has much to offer fiction writers as well; Ideas like the hero’s quest, the inciting incident, the Act II reversal, emotional beats and why they work on readers has real value even for pantsters.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
What I liked most about the book was the feeling I’ve gained a witty, truthful and loyal writing companion — who peppers her conversations with wonderful stories — and who knows all too well the petty jealousies, self-loathing, and delusions of grandeur that ebb and flow through the hearts of writers everywhere. As she describes her own writing life, you will recognize yourself. And when she tells you to get over yourself and get on with it — not because being published is the gateway to happiness, but because every once in a long while the act of writing is — you will believe her.
Two more that are on my wish list:
Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction by Keith Oatley
Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Mariner and the Mutinous Crew by Ursula K. LeGuin
What titles would you recommend? Tell us in the comments.