Megan Norris Jones
As an optimist, I assume the best about my writing. Of course I’m writing (almost) every day. Of course my manuscript is coming along beautifully. I’ll be finished in a couple of months.
When I completed WriteOwls’ Write by Midnight in February, the most useful tool in the whole month was the daily writing log. And it’s because I’m an optimist.
When I actually recorded my daily writing progress, I could no longer simply assume the best. If I didn’t write one day, that day had a big blank line beside it. And that objective record forced me to be realistic instead of just optimistic about my writing. Continue reading
Megan Norris Jones
I’ve been reading a number of books on writing lately, so I’d like to share a few recommendations with you.
1. The Scene Book by Sandra Scofield.
Most of the books on writing that I have devoured over the years have looked at putting together an entire novel, but this book drills down to the level of the individual scene and delves into what makes these building blocks of a novel work. It’s a thoughtful and insightful guide to this aspect of storytelling, and I learned a lot in the process of reading it that I’m looking forward to incorporating into my own writing.
2. Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy Pattison.
Pattison taught an intensive course on revision at the conference I attended in September, but I couldn’t get up there a day early to attend it, so my sweet husband bought me the book as a consolation prize. It’s as much a workbook as an instruction manual, so wait on this one till you have a finished draft in hand. I already have a running list of things that need to be improved in the next draft of my manuscript, but digging into Pattison’s perspective on revision gave me a solid approach to the process.
3. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.
Written by two editors, this book gives great advice on improving your own writing that can take it from mediocre to exceptional. My favorite aspect was that most examples came from manuscripts the authors had actually edited, so I could see how to apply the advice in real life. A passage that sounded just fine to me would be taken to the next level with their editing techniques.
What books have you found most helpful in developing your craft?
Looking up the spelling for interjections and exclamations, those sounds people make that aren’t really words, takes me far more time than it should. It’s strange that, though I recognize expressions like ew, pee-ew and pfffffffffft in stories and cartoons and know what they mean, I have a horrible time remembering how to spell them. Since my spell-checker usually doesn’t know, either, I wind up wasting precious time looking up the spelling on the net. Or worst case, have to spend time fixing a drawing or painting where I misspelled some hand lettered sound-effect.