As writers we all know that reading and writing are linked. It seems we cannot do one without doing the other. Last week I shared my top 5 movies, today the list includes 5 books I am reading right now, with one added bonus. They include:
1. Cracks (by Caroline Green) – Although I am only on chapter 6, this book has kept me going. So far I like how the author juxtaposes the protagonist’s dilemma (he’s living with his mother, abusive stepfather and bullying brother) with the comedic antics of said stepfather who has taken to calling Callum, the teenage protagonist, princess. Yet little by little we are nudged by the cracks. Things may not be what they seem.
3. Techniques of the Selling Writer (Dwight V. Swain) – A great book, so far although my pace is slow. This book is filled with nuggets of information, as it teaches you about how to get better at doing the craft. In a sense writing here is more than just imitation. Here, you must learn the techniques so that later on you will know if your story is working, and if it isn’t how to diagnose the problem.
4. Delirium (by Lauren Oliver) – I must admit that in my haste to read this series, I started with Pandemonium, which in some way is almost like playing catch up, but I’m looking forward to doing a re-read afterwards. I really love her work and got sucked in with her first novel, Before I Fall. (If you’re writing YA dystopia novels do check her out, along with Veronica Roth.)
5. Rework (by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson) – From Octavia Butler, I learnt that as a writer you need to understand the art and craft and business of writing a novel. This book has a lot of insights for the business minded professional. It can also be helpful to a writer because our jobs are multifaceted. We have to be able to take what little we have and make a lot. So the two things that struck me here were firstly the need to say no, to less important things and secondly to sell your byproducts. Don’t believe me? Well, this book is one. Think of other ways to promote your work, use smaller (/different) avenues like with poems, short stories or novellas, depending on your main genre. You never know. A lot can happen in a matter of days or months or years.
6. Bonus – Outlining Your Novel (by K.M. Weiland) – This writer/blogger is another person whose blog I followed before I began my own. And truthfully I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of outlining something and then working it out. Whether having the outline will keep me from stopping halfway through. But as I mentioned before we get stuck/blocked for various reasons, the only thing to do is to figure out why and then attempt to move on. So this is me, deciding to use the outline and go through the stages of writing the drafts to see if the story that comes to fruition has a better execution. Wish me luck, as I try to navigate between the forest and the trees.
Qu. And just because I’d like to hear from you I’m leaving a few questions at the end of this post. How do you write your novels? Do you use an outline? Does it prevent you from being stuck? And if you’re one of those people who can produce a novel within 3-6 months do you plan it out ahead of time and then write?
As always thanks for reading, writing and blogging. I look forward to hearing from you.