Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Books on Writing - Day 3

I wanted to highlight the book I first read when getting back into writing fiction. I must admit I haven't really seen it discussed online before - I don't know if it isn't in favor, or if it is just because it is an older book. If anyone has any experience with it, let me know, will ya?

Oh. I guess I should mention the name: How to Write (And Sell) a Christian Novel by Gilbert Morris.

Morris is a prolific Christian fiction author (his production is actually pretty staggering, according to Wikipedia). He definitely has the experience to share in his book. It is an older book. The copy I read was from 1994, the one referenced to above on Amazon is from 2000.

I think his book was quite helpful for me as a brand new writer staring at a blank page with a basic premise and a catchy opening to a story, but not much else to back it up! He sticks to the basics of fiction: plot, setting, POV, character development, and dialogue, with a final chapter on marketing your writing.

I appreciated the organized way to writing that he described, especially in regards to plot construction. He suggests starting by identifying the genre you want to write in, stating the overall theme of the work, and breaking it down from there. What is the plot, in a single sentence? Set up sections and label them. Write single sentence chapter headings, and finally turn these into paragraph summaries. Obviously this method works really well for the plotters of the world, and would drive those writing by the seat of their pants absolutely crazy.

He manages to squeeze a lot of material into less than 200 pages. Most of his examples come from his own writing. Since he's written so much this works, but it can get a bit thin on variety. I view this book as a good introduction to the craft, but it may not be for those with more experience.

For those with some practice, my next books on writing post will be for you. BUT...in the meantime tune in tomorrow for the Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy blog tour!

1 comment:

  1. Jason, with all of Randy Ingermanson's writer helps, you could just go right on with this topic and focus on that, if you wanted to. LOL

    I think your point is well taken, here. A referral depends on knowing where that other person is in his writing. Someone who is just starting out might find First Five Pages helpful.

    I'm that way with Browne and King. It was helpful when I read it, but I've read a few that have taken me to other parts of writing that I think now are more helpful. But for me starting out? None better than B & K.