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 Do I really want to keep outdated books on writing or tapes I can no longer play on any device I own?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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.