I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not a very big fan of craft books. I have a handful that I pay attention to and rarely buy any that are suggested to me. Why? To put it simply, they’re boring. I don’t want to read about how to write. I’d rather just do it. It’s like many things I’ve experienced in life. I didn’t want to watch someone skydive. I did it. I experienced it. I loved it. Although, I doubt I’ll be doing it again. Why chance fate a second time, right? 😉
It amazes me the number of aspiring writers who still ask about the difference between Show vs. Tell and what is it. Every now and then, someone will bring it up on one of my online writer’s loops and we spend about ten emails of everyone pretty much saying the same thing. Does the aspiring author get it? I have no idea. But if I had a choice, I’d change the whole Show vs. Tell thing to Experience.
I learn best by experience. Everything I’ve learned about writing, I’ve learned from reading. Online courses are great if you need the refresher. However, I find my best refresher comes from reading books I love. Here’s a short list of authors who’ve taught me some fabulous rules:
2. Kelley Armstrong – amazing world building while keeping it real
3. Laurell K. Hamilton – pacing (note: this is prior to her venture into the 300 pages of sex and 20 pages of plot)
4. Bentley Little – plotting and the simplest things can turn your character’s world into a living hell.
5. John Saul – go for it no matter how strange it might feel
6. JK Rowling – let your imagination soar
7. Erica Orloff – again, characters who leap off the pages and keeping it real.
8. Kiana Alexander – she very new to the biz, but she can write the hell out of a synopsis. I feel honored that she let me critique hers. 🙂
Now keep in mind that these authors have taught–continue to teach–me more than what I’ve listed here. However, these are the things that really stand out.
What about you? Who were the authors you’ve learned from and what have they taught you?