The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 46: Discussing “Troubleshooting Your Novel” by Steven James)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 46

So, you think you’re finished with your magnum opus? Think again. Maybe go back through it. Just make sure you didn’t accidentally name your hero “Jack” in one scene and “Jill” in another. What was that? He had dark hair in one chapter and blond in another? Is he a spy? And what about that dog? Is its name also “Jack,” or did you get your wires crossed again (or is your hero sometimes a human and sometimes a dog)?

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. Today, we’re looking at Troubleshooting Your Novel, Steven James’s follow-up to his excellent book for organic writers (I refuse to call them pantsers), Story Trumps Structure.

In this book, you can learn how to take your messy masterpiece and clean it up, fixing broken plot points, identifying shifts in message, and otherwise taking that rough piece of clay that resembles a novel and chipping away the rough edges (or maybe lob some chunks off) until something smooth and beautiful emerges.

You can check out my video for it here. And don’t forget to check out Steven James’s other book when you get a chance.

Troubleshooting Your Novel: Essential Techniques for Identifying and Solving Manuscript Problems

by Steven James

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback : 360 pages

·  ISBN-10 : 1599639807

·  ISBN-13 : 978-1599639802

·  Publisher : Writer’s Digest Books (September 20, 2016)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Oh, and before I forget to tell you, this episode marks the end of our weekly Season 2 episodes. That means there won’t be any new craft books to review next week. But don’t worry, I still have five episodes left in the planner for our season bonuses, which will begin November 4th, and cover more practical items like specialized dictionaries and word usage guides.

Season bonuses traditionally air on the first Friday of each month, so I plan to release a new Writer’s Bookshelf episode every first Friday until March 2022. At that point, Season 2 will officially end (although I may still do a recap episode like I did for the first season).

Regarding the start of Season 3, I don’t yet have a schedule in mind. But I doubt it’ll happen before May 2022. Season 2 hasn’t been nearly as followed as Season 1 (in fact, every book I thought would be in demand turned out to be my least viewed episodes), so I think it’s time to cool it down a bit. Not to mention, I need a break from reading craft books. I definitely want to get my slate for Season 3 together—some important ones on that list—but I also want to make sure my reviews are useful to you, and that means refreshing my head a bit. So, May 2022 will likely be the earliest we launch the next season.

But that’s also good news for you because it gives you time to catch up with the books you haven’t read yet. So, go ahead and catch up. You’ve got seven months.

See you in November!

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The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 45: Discussing “The Secrets of Story” by Matt Bird)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 45

Whenever we sit down to read a book, we take it for granted that the author will confidently display his storytelling skills. But whenever we sit down to write a book, all that confidence flies out the window because we know the truth: What storytelling skills?

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. In this week’s episode, we take a look at The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird, a book written for screenwriters, but adopted by all writers. In this book, we learn not just the fundamentals of story structure, because we can learn that from anyone, as The Writer’s Bookshelf series has proven, but the little tweaks that can turn a mediocre story into a hot one.

And we all want to write the hot one, don’t we? We certainly want to read it. This book helps us to write the book that the reader wants to read.

Find out more in this video.

The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers

by Matt Bird

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback : 368 pages

·  ISBN-10 : 1440348235

·  ISBN-13 : 978-1440348235  

·  Publisher : Writer’s Digest Books (November 1, 2016)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 44: Discussing “From Where You Dream” by Robert Olen Butler)

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Remember that dream you had about Santa Claus disciplining his elves with a giant candy cane? Not the one at the North Pole, but the one at that New York department store? Yeah, that’s not what we’re talking about today.

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. Today, we’re looking at From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler (transcribed and edited by Janet Burroway), a book about yet another approach to writing that’s neither for plotters nor pantsers. In this case, this book is for the dreamers.

Check out our one-sided conversation in this video.

Note: I’m pretty sure I was tired when I recorded this episode, and the energy I display in it shows. You may need to plan for session viewing in this case. Finish the video, but I understand if you do it over several sittings. Probably makes sense that I also have little energy as I write this article. Fortunately, the book is more energetic.

From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction

by Robert Olen Butler, Edited by Janet Burroway

Website (Robert Olen Butler)

Website (Janet Burroway)

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback : 288 pages

·  ISBN-10 : 0802142575

·  ISBN-13 : 978-0802142573  

·  Publisher : Grove Press; Reprint edition (January 9, 2006)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

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The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 43: Discussing “The Emotional Craft of Fiction” by Donald Maass)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 43

The Donald-sance continues this week (no, not that one—the Donald Maass-a-sance), with Donald Maass’ latest book, The Emotional Craft of Fiction. If you liked the last two books we covered, then you’ll no doubt appreciate Maass’ unique take on the subject matter driving the thesis of this book.

And what exactly is that thesis?

Emotional investment.

Okay, that’s the topic. But that’s also what his latest book is about. For the most part.

Honestly, this one’s difficult to talk about because it goes beyond the craft of writing, and it has no peers, as far as I know. It’s a unique take on a topic that is hardly ever addressed but still important to consider if we want to approach our work with more than just a half-heart. So, it’s one worth putting on the list.

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. Check out the discussion in this week’s video.

Note: You aren’t imagining things. We did skip Donald Maass’ third and fourth books. Why? Because they’re not on my bookshelf yet. Maybe for Season 3.

The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface

by Donald Maass

Website

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback : 224 pages

·  ISBN-10 : 9781440348372

·  ISBN-13 : 978-1440348372  

·  Publisher : Writer’s Digest Books; Illustrated edition (December 30, 2016)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.