Last week I attended the one day Cape Fear Crime Festival in NC and one of the speakers was Chris Roerden, a contract editor now, with something like 44 years in the business, who's written the non-fiction and winner of the Agatha Christie for Best non-fiction book, DON'T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY, and the follow-up, DON'T SABOTAGE YOUR SUBMISSION.
Chris is a delightful speaker and I bought a copy of DON'T SABOTAGE YOUR SUBMISSION (but haven't started it yet).
So, buying it I was wondering: what is your favorite How-To Write book?
Let us know,
A Cold Wind - a Grace deHaviland novella
On Writing by Stephen King. It's full of interesting and amusing anecdotes, and the main message is to read a lot and write a lot (which is, in fact, the only way to learn how to write).
I'm with Jude on this. Stein's book is good, too, but King's holds up better for re-reading you improve as a writer, at least for me.
Another great book is SELF-EDITING FOR WRITERS, by Renni Browne and Dave King.
I thought On Writing was too basic. I wanted more meat. It felt like King took a bird's eye view of everything. Maybe it's just me. I think the best how-to books aren't in the non-fiction section.
That's one of the reasons I liked On Writing, because it was basic. Any one who tries to tell you this is the way it's done is lying. There are as many ways to write a book as there are writers.
So true. The important thing is to read books.
Thanks, Jude. Seems like everywhere a writer turns there is a "structure" that is the be-all and end-all. I pick up On Writing and turn to almost any page for its insight. And I'm not embarrassed to say the same for Poetics. (Oh, and Hammett and Chandler, too.)
Yeah, On Writing is a classic.
For craft, though, I like The Making of a Story by Alice LaPLante
Cape Fear festival? Interesting, David. Is it in Wilmington?
Oh, I looked it up. Wrightsville Beach, essentially. Not a bad location. The people appear to be perps, actually. Not a bad thing. One day???
My kind of guys.
(I'm trying to cure that, but it never seems to take)
My favorite is Stein on Writing