or Connect
CHUD.com Community › Forums › ARTS & LITERATURE › Books and Magazines › Creative Writing/Writing Books
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Creative Writing/Writing Books

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I finally sat down today and hacked out some ideas that I've been kicking around for a while, and while I kinda know where I'm going with some of them I wanted to check and see if you fine fuckers had any favorite books (or even websites if you know of some good online resources) related to writing/creative writing that you could throw my way.

Thanks!
post #2 of 21
http://www.barryeisler.com/writers.php EXTENSIVE articles on writing.

http://www.jakonrath.com/writers.htm

Lawrence Block's books on writing, especially Telling Lies for Fun and Profit are essential.

As is Stephen King's On Writing.


Walter Mosley's book on writing is great and so is David Morrell's.
post #3 of 21
I'd read Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. It's less to do with the conventions of popular genre, and more to do with training yourself to write.

The Elements of Style is one of the most important books to read if you want to write. As Cameron said, King's On Writing is actually pretty good. Immediate Fiction is good. All these books are good, but I'd take care not to heed to closely to them. They'll let you how and why things are done, but don't listen to what should be done, that you should decide for yourself. There will also be a lot of conflicting advice.
post #4 of 21
Just ignore all those fucking books and read fiction. And read critically. Ask yourself questions when you're reading, like 1) does this scene work, 2) why does it work or not, 3) how would I improve it? Pay attention to language and how the author uses it. Does the language have a certain rhythm? Are certain images recurring? How so?

Find The Readers Manifesto online and read it. Great stuff there.

And avoid semi-colons.
post #5 of 21
What If?

I picked this one up at a workshop, and I still go back to it regularly.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Great choice. I took a lit/writing/reading workshop with one of the authors in grad school and she was inspiring. Bought her book and use it frequently.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Hughes View Post
As is Stephen King's On Writing.
Without a doubt, my favourite book on the subject.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildoubt View Post
Just ignore all those fucking books and read fiction. And read critically.
The writers are absolutely the best teachers. Read, and read widely! A problem I see with many of my peers (I'm 22) is they only read a handful of authors who write the same kind of "take-a-genre-add-twisted/kinky/weird/ultraviolent/transgressive-elements-and-then-write-with-a-pseudo-intellectual-voice" books. Don't be afraid to read against the grain. Don't be afraid to return to the classics.

That said, I HIGHLY recommend two books by the same author:
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, and
The Plot Thickens also by Noah Lukeman.
Great, great, great, and sound, advice from a publisher who's read years worth of crap.
His idea that every sentence should be written as a hook sentence, and that a hook sentence should never be viewed as a marketing tool, is alone worth the price.

And if you're really into art, and still reading this post, read "The Novel", "Morality and the Novel", two essays by D. H. Lawrence. They're both really short, around 5 -7 pages, but are required reading for any artist.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JetManX View Post
Don't be afraid to read against the grain. Don't be afraid to return to the classics.
Absolutely. I learned a lot about writing by reading Lolita (and reading it critically) and then reading the companion essay Nabokov wrote about Lolita's genesis. Interesting stuff.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JetManX View Post
A problem I see with many of my peers (I'm 22) is they only read a handful of authors who write the same kind of "take-a-genre-add-twisted/kinky/weird/ultraviolent/transgressive-elements-and-then-write-with-a-pseudo-intellectual-voice" books.
That's the same problem I saw at 22 in my creative writing classes. A bunch of pretentious stuffed shirts who all write like they're smirk talking. If you ever wondered why literature is in such sad shape these days (and really, it's in terrible condition), it's due to young authors not having anything to say and being in love with their own narrative voices.

All the writing classes and all the writing books in the world cannot solve the problem of having nothing to say. If anything, these classes and books exacerbates the problem by encouraging belly-button contemplation pieces that only reinforces a self-centered world view. For instance, every single piece of newly published "Modern Lit" that I see in my local Borders has the same plot as the author's biography. That's sad.

Books and classes cannot teach you the most essential element of being a writer. That being your own voice. The more you read and the more you write, the closer you come to developing your own voice.
post #11 of 21
This is a tiny bit of a stretch, but http://misssnark.blogspot.com/ (Miss Snark) is a helpful site. Retired now, but the archives contain the thoughts of a literary agent. Not all of it is related to getting published; there is a lot of interesting material about actual storytelling in there too.

Also, the 'writing' tag on AskMetaFilter might take you a while to get somewhere useful, but if you have a writing-related question it's probably in there. http://ask.metafilter.com/tags/writing

Good luck with your material!
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildoubt View Post
The more you read and the more you write, the closer you come to developing your own voice.
That is the most important element. Those books can offer some help. But it's all about reading and writing as much as possible.
post #13 of 21
doubt just made some excellent points.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake View Post
I finally sat down today and hacked out some ideas that I've been kicking around for a while, and while I kinda know where I'm going with some of them I wanted to check and see if you fine fuckers had any favorite books (or even websites if you know of some good online resources) related to writing/creative writing that you could throw my way.

Thanks!
I assume you're leaning more toward a novel of some sort, since you're not asking in Chud's own screenwriter's thread.

Here are a few articles from John Scalzi a science fiction writer:

John Scalzi’s Utterly Useless Writing Advice
Even More Long-Winded (But Practical) Writing Advice
10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing
On Teens, and the Fact Their Writing Sucks
Unasked-For Advice to New Writers About Money
On Writing For “Free”
What You Have to Give Up to Write

He comes from more of a blue collar side of things. Which I think is an interesting side to hear from.

Two books I'll mention is On Becoming a Novelist, and the The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. He was a creative writing teacher as well as a novelist. So he's had actual experience in creating something. He has a more artistic leaning, and strives for writers to have a more trancendent approach to writing. Not so much a fan of genre, or pornography. Still he does give practical advice on ways to both approach and conduct the writing process.

General advice is to both read and write. Writing being the more important practice of the two. You'll learn a lot from sitting down and actually trying to put your thoughts on paper. Getting some sort of routine set up is probably best to maximize productivity, it can be difficult finding the time, but remember any work must be made a letter, a word, a sentence at a time. If you never put any time into it, it will never get done.

If the first incarnation doesn't work out, don't be afraid to start over. Sometimes you need to get the bad version out of the way first, don't be discouraged.

Know your genre.

Don't let yourself get bogged down in trying to conform to the approaches of established writers. Always be open, try them out, but don't cling to techniques that don't suit you.

At the end of the day whether or not your goal is to be published finishing a work is always an accomplishment unto itself.

Good luck.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Awesome stuff in here. Thanks, gang, and keep 'em coming (along with the advice!) if you've got 'em.

EDIT: Also went to the library near work to find some of these, couldn't find any of them, grabbed this instead. It's pretty good!
post #16 of 21
Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. A lot of my friends recommended it to me, and we actually ended up using chapters and exercises from it in my Creative Writing class last year. It's very simple, but I enjoyed it at least.
post #17 of 21
A writer friend of mine highly recommends this one.

http://www.amazon.com/New-Writers-Ha..._bxgy_b_text_b
post #18 of 21
My one tip, for what it's worth:

Study another language. If English is your first or only language, I'd recommend French, as it's sort of English's "mommy" tongue, has one of the greatest bodies of really great work out of any language, and you'll pick up reading it remarkably quickly. Learning to speak is another story altogether, but is useful. How else are you going to impress the babes? Still, studying another language is invaluable to learning more about the rules of your own, and you're also opening up another world of literature for yourself. I also find that translating some authors really opens up their thoughts, and the more you do it the better a reader/writer you become. A good book for French reading is "French for Reading Knowledge" by Palmeri and Milligan. It's geared more towards learning to read literary texts rather learning to speak, but even that much is an incredibly valuable tool.

Oh, and poetry is your friend.

Also, I found a podcast on iTunes U from Warwick University called "Writing Challenges," which is a series of quick talks that last no longer than ten minutes, as well as some useful exercises that you can do just limber your mind up a bit. I just started going through it now after a long period of not writing anything seriously and I can feel some of my old mojo coming back from when I was pounding out essays for school, and can't wait to finally crystallize some of the stuff that's been floating in my head for the past year or so.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by D.S. Randlett View Post
Oh, and poetry is your friend.
This is good advice. I love reading Tennyson and Byron's always a treat.
post #20 of 21
Those podcasts are great. Thanks for the excellent suggestion.
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by D.S. Randlett View Post
My one tip, for what it's worth:

Study another language. If English is your first or only language, I'd recommend French, as it's sort of English's "mommy" tongue, has one of the greatest bodies of really great work out of any language, and you'll pick up reading it remarkably quickly. Learning to speak is another story altogether, but is useful.
I already speak/read/write fluent Spanish, but I've been kicking around the possibility of picking up another language. That being said, reading 100 Years of Solitude and Don Quixote in Spanish? Awesome.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Books and Magazines
CHUD.com Community › Forums › ARTS & LITERATURE › Books and Magazines › Creative Writing/Writing Books