Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Browsing Through My Bookshelves by Marta Perry


I've been determined to bring order to the chaos in my office recently. I've purged files, discovered how long income tax documents are supposed to be saved, and considered the advisability of hanging onto paper copies of workshops I gave so many years ago I can't remember them. In the process, I actually found that one of my file drawers had broken under the weight of all the things I'd crammed into it!

Maybe writers are especially guilty of hanging onto anything resembling the printed word. I'm convinced that as soon as I throw something away, I'll learn that I need it. But I'm struggling to ignore that little voice and be as ruthless as someone of my nature can be. Do I really want to keep outdated books on writing or tapes I can no longer play on any device I own? Probably not.

The process has been painful in some ways, but it's had an unexpected benefit. As I went through my bookshelves in search of materials to donate or recycle, I ran into some old favorites I hadn't turned to in some time, and I refreshed myself and stretched my writing muscles with some techniques I'd learned once and let slip away.

Maybe you'd like a look at some of my writing favorites. Here are a few, culled from my shelves, in no particular order. I can guarantee dipping into any of these will give your writing a boost, and if you're not a writer but a booklover, you might enjoy seeing how authors achieve the books that keep you coming back time after time. 

GETTING INTO CHARACTER: SEVEN SECRETS A NOVELIST CAN LEARN FROM ACTORS by Brandilyn Collins.  

THE PLOT THICKENS:  EIGHT WAYS TO BRING FICTION TO LIFE by Noah Lukeman. 

THE STORY WITHIN GUIDEBOOK: AN INTERACTIVE GUIDEBOOK TO PLOTTING POPULAR FICTION by Alicia Rasley.  www.sff.net/people/alicia

PRESCRIPTION FOR PLOTTING by Carolyn Greene.  E-mail: greene@visi.net

THE COMPLETE WRITER’S GUIDE TO HEROES & HEROINES: SIXTEEN MASTER ARCHETYPES by Cowden, LaFever, and Viders.  

45 MASTER CHARACTERS: MYTHIC MODELS FOR CREATING ORIGINAL CHARACTERS by Victoria Lynn Schmidt.  Writer’s Digest Books.  www.writersdigest.com

CREATING UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS by Linda Seger.  


THE WRITER’S JOURNEY: MYTHIC STRUCTURE FOR STORYTELLERS AND SCREENWRITERS by Christopher Vogler.  

Enjoy!
Marta

6 comments:

RENEE said...

I'm a packrat (step below hoarder), so I feel your pain. Throwing things away can feel like ripping out a piece of your heart!

Thanks for sharing your writing resources. Maybe they can jumpstart my writing...I'm procrastinating. Granted, fifty and sixty hour work weeks make it tough, but there is plenty of dragging my feet, too.

Jackie Smith said...

I am a "toss it out" person; I do not keep clothes (if I no longer wear them) nor books...which I like to share with others! Guess that is just ME! lol

Jennifer said...

I have a hard time wit stuff building up and then it seems like one day I look at a pile and notice it and clean it up and wonder how come I'd left it that way for so long? Thank you Marta for all of your hard work! Jenny

Keli Gwyn said...

Oh, Marta, I feel your pain. I recently hired a professional organizer to help me jumpstart the process of dealing with my messes and excesses. I've spent the better part of the past two weeks downsizing and organizing. This is my attempt at getting our house in order as Gwynly prepares to retire and I embrace my new career as a contracted author living with deadlines. I've kept the volunteers at our Hospice thrift store busy with my numerous deliveries. Sure feels good to let go of things I no longer need and focus on those that add value to my life.

JanisKay said...

I'm split in the middle since it takes me FOREVER to make the time to clear out my crap, but once I start, watch out! Nothing is safe as I reorganize as I purge. I'm really busy with grad school and my boyfriend, so anything aside from homework gets the back burner ><

Shirley Strait said...

I so understand how hard it is to throw away things you might need. I recently went through and purged my files after homeschooling over 25 years. I had things accumulated from schooling 5 children from K - 12th grade. It was SOOOO hard to let some of those things go into the trash. At least I was able to give some of the books to a young homeschool mother I know.