Monday, June 04, 2007

How-to books

I'm often asked what writing books I look to for encouragement and inspiration.

I have to be honest with you. There aren't many, nowadays. It's not that I feel that I'm to the point in my writing where I have nothing further to learn. Far from it. I learn something new every day that I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, and IMHO that's the way that it should be. The day I decide that there is nothing more for me to learn in this challenging career-slash-obsession called writing is the day I close the book for good. {Lucky for me, that day is nowhere in sight! LOL.} But I am to the point where I have a good feel for my own writing process, for what works for me and what doesn't. I used to read every article and attend every writing class I could. It was fascinating to hear how others wrote, to gather what nuggets of wisdom I could, only to wonder later why their methods didn't work for me. No matter how logical they sounded, no matter whose brilliant method it was, none of them seemed to fit. Eventually I came to understand why some days I needed to be at the computer with seven different files open, sifting back and forth between them all, while others I needed to sit quietly with a notebook on my lap and a gel pen in hand, my process for that day as much about the smoothness of the flow of ink on the page as the flow of words. And sometimes my process isn't about the putting down of words at all. It's about watching a movie that possesses a sense of atmosphere that speaks to me, or listening to music that seemed to be saying something about a particular character. Or getting outdoors and walking for miles, or digging in my garden with its neverending supply of weeds to be cleared. For me, it's all part and parcel of my being a writer, which is why I wouldn't recommend my particular process at all. It isn't meant to be for anyone but me {though if it happens to speak to anyone else who might be reading this, GREAT! Feel free to emulate away...}.

The one book I would recommend if I had to choose at least one would be Stephen King's ON WRITING. .. mostly because he's not telling you how, he's just telling you to do. Write, write, write. Because that's the bottom line, really, isn't it. That's what it's all about.

And now... back to the Travel Channel. Samantha Brown is checking in at Edinburgh, Scotland, one of my favorite places in the whole world. Have I ever mentioned ::koff koff:: that Scotland and its many treasures of all varieties ::koff koff:: is a neverending source of inspiration for me?

Love to all,

Mad {madly!}

Some links you may find useful:
Predators & Editors: Warning site for editors and agents, very helpful...
Mystery Writers of America:
Sisters in Crime:
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America: including Writer Beware
Romance Writers of America:
Duirwaigh Gallery: {on the list simply because I believe there is magic in creativity, and this site is so beautiful and inspiring and soul-stirring... and it never fails to lift my spirits high}

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