Okay, here we go. My first real informative blog post on writing.
As I have been reading other blogs (mainly agent blogs) I have been thinking about all the resources that have helped me make my book function and progress. Most of what has helped me, especially in revising, has come about in just the last few months. Aside from the agent blogs that I have been following (listed on my sidebar), there have been several books that I have read that have given me that little extra 'oomph' to crisp up my MS and give it a polished glow. =)
So, without further ado, here is the list of books I recommend for anyone wanting to become a better writer:
Revision & Self Editing by James Scott
The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book by Susan Page
Jeff Herman's Guide (which comes out annually)
The Successful Novelist by David Morrell
Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon
I would also like to add, though I haven't read it yet, Stephen King's On Writing. That is one that I will be purchasing asap. I have heard really great things about it. You can read a sample of it on Amazon.com that gives you a good intro to what he talks about. One of the things I like about Stephen King (even though I am not a huge horror fan), is that he can make you want to read on. He hooks you right from the very first sentance and keeps you interested until the end.
Now, just a few words about why I chose the above books. These were all suggested to me by various sources. The first ones I read were Susan Page's and Jeff Herman's guide. Those really helped, but I would suggest reading those AFTER you have a completed MS. Though they do have sections that help with the whole process of writing, they are a better help to preparing for/finding an agent.
The third book that I read was the first one on my list by James Scott. It is an excellent book, brief and to the point. It actually didn't help me as much as I thought though because I already got most of the tips from the agents I follow. But still great info.
David Morrell is an excellent source. He has been in the writing 'biz' for literally decades and has all the war wounds to prove it. Interesting read. Incidentally, did you know that he wrote Rambo?
Elizabeth Lyon's book, in my opinion, was the best! If you don't buy any other book, buy Manuscript Makeover. She does tend to go over some things more than once (but hey, maybe she does this on purpose for people like me who need these things hammered into our brains). This book is really in depth and goes over EVERY single little to big thing in the writing process. Writing is a science. Even down to the very line. Heck, even down to the punctuation. I learned things from her that I never thought about before, for example: how fragment sentances cause drama (and are valid in writing fiction, even if your computer tells you not to use them),how periods create 'stop signs' in people's minds, how to use a coma, and the list goes on and on. Also, did you know that the 'two space' rule when starting a new sentance is no longer 'the thing' to do? (If I still use two spaces instead of one it is because my English teachers in school really made it hard to break the habbit). And another thing that publishers do is un-indenting the first paragraph of a new chapter. Just some little tidbits for y'all.
Loads of info was learned from these books, to say the least. Anyway, I hope you appreciated that, dear void. Tune in next time...for...well, whatever I decide to write. If I am in a silly mood, maybe I will tell a story. =)