I am fascinated with the craft of writing. I love the fact that someone can rearrange words on a page in a way that can touch someone else. All writers do the same thing but they do it their own way. If you ask a writer how they write most of the time they look like they don’t know where to start to explain it. Most of them don’t know how to explain it, they just do it.
Over the years I’ve learned that writing a story is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You might start out with an idea and maybe a couple characters but you don’t necessarily know the theme, or the whole plot. Some writers start with a character and they develop that character discovering the goal, motivation, and conflict. They use that information to start building the structure of the story. Some writer’s use the hero’s journey. Others look at plot points and know that we have to have a twist here and another one there. Dissecting books and movies help you learn more about structure. After a while, I think there is a natural rhythm to the story. You know as you’re writing that it either feels right or it doesn’t. When it doesn’t you start reviewing the structure or maybe the characters. Do you have someone doing something that doesn’t fit into their goal? i believe that you can learn to write but no one will write in exactly the same way. We all have to find what works for us.
Over the years I have started buying writer’s reference books. I seem to find something new in each one even though most of them are covering the same information. Right now, the one I have relied a lot on for my current project is Hallie Ephron’s book on mystery writing. I have used it so much, it is falling apart.
Recently I discovered William Bernhardt. He is a writer who also teaches writing in Oklahoma. He published three books on writing recently. They are not huge books and you can read them within a short amount of time but they are packed with information that can help you write your story.
The first one is on Structure, the second is about Character, and the third is about Plot. There is a lot of overlapping in the books but each one can stand alone. They are another valuable tool in my personal toolbox for writing. If you want to polish your writing skills or have thought about writing a novel. These three books would be a good start.
I feel like I am finally getting somewhere with my current story. I kind of got stuck in chapter four but I have worked through that and plan to move on to chapter five later this evening.
How is your project going? What are your favorite how-to books?
What’s in your toolbox?
- Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction by William Bernhardt (aspeakinghuman.wordpress.com)