Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Craft Books

I generally don't read craft books. Of course, I didn't used to be involved in a critique group eithe rand it's the best thing I have ever done for my career. So I figured craft books can only make me a better writer, right? One hopes. The first one that came in was Write Tight by William Brohaugh. Some very good information in there about redundancies, and sixteen different types of wordiness. Unfortunately, I can see myself just browsing this book because it's pretty flipping boring to read. Or maybe it's for someone far more intelligent than I. I am getting a lot out of it because it has a huge list of commonly used redundant phrases and I am learning how to spot unneeded words in my own work. So that's good.

The other book I can see myself reading cover to cover, Self Editing for Fiction Writers. It's easy to read, easy to understand, has tons of examples and exercises to reinforce the point of the chapter. Two chapters in and I am already smarter. And it was painless. Some of this stuff I knew instinctively, but now I have names to call it and improved ways of executing it. For instance, I have always written scenes separated by short bits of narrative summary and instinctively knew how to pace my books, but I certainly never thought about why I did that. Now I understand the best way to go about it and what can be successfully narrated and what should be written out into a scene. There was a whole chapter on showing instead of telling and even though I knew what it was, the book showed (har har)some fab examples. Like I said, I knew a lot of this, but it's just so clear and concise. It is probably more geared towards rank newbies, but even experienced writers will find some take away value in it. It should be given to every writer who has judged a contest so they can give a copy away when they return manuscripts:)

So what are your favorite craft books...the ones that really made an impact on your writing? Or maybe the ones you turn to when stuck?

Some common redundant phrases

Absolute truth
brief moment
cash money
chowder soup
crazy maniac
fatal suicide
gambling casino
gather together
meaningless gibberish
false pretenses
foreign import
mix together
merge together
pour down
pure unadulterated
kneel down (as opposed to kneeling up?)
radiate out
same identical
talking out loud
restore back
switchblade knife
starve to death
visible to the eye (as opposed to visible to the ear?)
Easter Sunday (as opposed to Easter Tuesday?)
valuable asset

Some are pretty funny when you think about it. There are several hundred here... that is just a taste. The book is Write Tight by William Brohaugh.


Rachel Vincent said...

Would you care to post some of those redundant phrases? I'd love to see a list, but I have no idea where to get the book. Where'd you get it?

Rachel Vincent said...

If you do post them, can I link to your blog? I'm really interested in that list.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

ROFL. Okay, I can honestly say I've never used any of those phrases. (Watch, one my cp's will bop over and correct me on this.)

Ahem, I can honestly say I don't *think* I've ever used any of those phrases. Although they are pretty funny.

The one I get called on all the time is "shrugged her shoulders".
My cp's are always pointing out there really isn't anything else you can shrug. ;)

Bonnie Ferguson said...

Hehehehe on the phrases }:)

Paty Jager said...

I too have some "How To" books I recently purchased hoping it will help me get published. Only I get so bored reading them I am only about 1/4 of the way into them and then I stopped. More interesting things to do. Like write!

As for where I live. I'm out toward
O'Neil. My DILis from Alfalfa. My DH graduated from Redmond High in '77'. I'm from NE Oregon originally. Small world!

M. G. Tarquini said...

I think Easter Tuesday would be a kickass title...

c.rooney said...

Easter Sunday as opposed to Easter Monday.

Or do you not have that in America?