Fiction Technique Books

I have quite a few books on the technique of fiction writing, but I've never read them. I've browsed through a few of the ones sitting on my shelf, collecting dust: John Gardner's the Art of Fiction, Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, Story Structure Handbook, etc. I heard Stephen King has a good one but I have yet to buy it.

For the most part, I just can't seem to get into them. It seems that one should spend their time trying to write and figure it out, rather than
reading about writing. John Gardner's Art of Fiction I find incredibly academic and obtuse. It takes all the drama and discovery out of the creative process.

But I just picked one up that I am not only actually reading, but enjoying, too. Self Editing for Fiction Writers

It's written by two fiction editors and there is a lot of helpful information on point of view, narrative distance and dialogue. I am actually proud to see that I am doing things right when it comes to these points. (For the most part; there's still room for improvement.) Curious to see what others think of technique books.


K. M. Walton said...

I like how honest your blog is. Good read. There are three books that actually were amazing reads and actually made me a better writer:
- On Writing by Stephen King (memoir mixed with stellar writing advice)
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (HILARIOUS memoir mixed with stellar writing advice)
- The Novelist's Boot Camp by Todd A. Stone (I read this before I wrote my first YA novel this past year and it helped me understand some crucial writing points)
I wish you luck on your writing journey. Much luck.

Prince Balthazar said...

Thanks for your post, K.M. I'll have to take another look at some of the ones you mentioned. I do recall liking the Anne Lamott book but it was so long ago I'll have to pick it back up.

Have to get that Stephen King book too.

Thanks for dropping by.

Pink Ink said...

I read King's and although an interesting read, I would not personally buy it. More memoir than how-to.

I read another one of Gardner's, "On Becoming a Novelist" and liked it. A little dated, but helpful. Chris Baty's (of NaNoWriMo fame) "No Plot No Problem" helped me with my first draft. [Where I live we have a great interlib book loan where I can request pretty much ANYTHING for free. I love it.]

It's great to read the books once in a while, but it's important to WRITE first and foremost. In some ways, just doing it is the greatest teacher.

Angie Frazier said...

I dip into Stephen King's On Writing whenever I'm feeling a writing funk coming on. He has some great bits of advice, and the man can make me laugh out loud! I seriously cannot contain it, even when out in public :-0
Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

Prince Balthazar said...

Thanks for visiting Angie. And congrats on selling EVERLASTING!

Tabitha said...

I wholeheartedly agree about this book. Not only is it helpful, it's not written with the tone of Charlie Brown's teacher. As most reference books are. :)

I recommend re-reading Bird by Bird. I remember just feeling better about the whole writing way of life each time I finish it. It gives you permission to let your early stuff be awful...and that's something I always need. :)

I see on your Shelfari shelf that you've just read Evil Genius. Care to share what you thought of it?

Prince Balthazar said...

Tabitha, thanks for visiting! I kind of liked Evil Genius. I thought it was really well-written, but overly long and a little complicated for YA. The author certainly doesn't talk down to her audience, that's for sure. By the end of the book, I didn't really care that much about the MC or what happened.

She is a talented writer, though.

Not sure if I want to read the other series in the books.

I have to remember to pick up Bird by Bird again. Thanks!