A few good writing books

Here’s a short list of writing books I’ve liked, or found helpful, or both.

1) The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.  This was my introduction to Joseph Campbell’s work and I think it was a good place to start.  It’s based on a memo Vogler sent around the Disney Studios when he worked there in the  90’s summing up Campbell’s hero’s journey as a guide for writing.  The book gives a nice overview and uses movies as examples.  I liked it as a starting point because I found it easier to focus on the steps of the journey when most of the examples are already familiar.

2) Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell.  This is the basis for the last book, and a lot of movies, Star Wars probably being the most well known.  Campbell explains the idea of the monomyth- the idea that all great stories share the same basic structure and archetype characters to explain each person’s own quest.  Everyone is the hero of their own story, and the goal is to find your bliss.  It’s a fascinating theory.  I suggested Vogler’s book first because I think it’s easier to have an idea of the steps and archetypes from his book before getting deeper into them with Campbell.  Campbell also uses examples from mythology that weren’t as familiar to me as the movie references (way beyond the standard Greek and Roman we think of as mythology) so I thought it was easier to learn the idea of the journey with something familiar, then have clear signposts along the way while learning about the unfamiliar myths.

3)Writing the Wave by Elizabeth Ayers.  And now for something completely different.  The last two were theory books, this is a series of writing exercises.  I’ve gotten story ideas from doing them, enough that I returned the library copy and bought my own.

4) The Songwriter’s Idea Book by Sheila Davis.  I haven’t finished this book yet- I just bought it a couple of days ago- but it’s on the May 100 Kindle books under $3.99 so I thought I’d include it now while it’s on sale.  Even though it’s for songwriters, so there’s quite a bit that doesn’t apply, it has an interesting section on creativity according to your personality type and another on coming up with titles to give a starting point for a project.  The title advice is interesting and I think it might be a good way to come up with ideas for short stories (all of my ideas seem to be for longer pieces)  I’ll see how it goes and let you know.


A Few Writing Resolutions

It’s a little late for New Year’s resolutions, but that means if I broke them before now it doesn’t count, right?  Well, here’s a couple I’m making about writing.  I’ll let you know how I do in a few months (if I don’t, that means I failed miserably and I’m hoping you forgot lol)

  1. Do something writing related every day.  I’m editing my next book right now, so saying I’ll write this many pages doesn’t work right now.  And with editing, some pages fly by, some need lots of work, so I’m leaving it open-ended.  After this book, I have a half-finished novella and ideas for two more books, so I have plenty of writing to do.
  2. Try all these writing programs I’ve downloaded.  I have trial versions of programs for organising notes, programs for plotting, for making ebooks, grammar checks, and even ones for actually writing.  I need to try them out and either buy the full versions or get rid of the clutter.
  3. Get my books on Pubit.  I think Barnes and Noble is the last place I want to get my ebooks on but haven’t yet.  It shouldn’t be hard, I just need to sit down and read through the stuff on their site.  I’ve started this one, and Ella is up there, so it should be easy to finish it.
  4. Use Twitter to tweet.  I follow everyone from Elizabeth Taylor and Mark Ballas to Deepak Chopra and the Dalai Llama, but I don’t tweet much myself.  I’m going to figure that out then find a level of tweeting I can keep up with.
  5. Accept that I am not a fan of Facebook.  Whenever I hear how many people are on there, I think I should be too.  Then I poke around and realise I just can’t get my head around it.  I should spend that time figuring Twitter out.

Well, there it is.  We’ll see how I do in a few months.

edited because I should know by now, every time I hit “publish”, there will be at least one more typo to fix.

my web page is www.lisaannenisula.com copyright 2010, 2011 Lisa Anne Nisula
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