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  1. #1
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    Can someone recommend a book?

    Are there any books out there that actually teach the craft of writing fiction? I know that the art of writing is probably not learned, but I have heard that the craft of writing can be learned.

    For example, I am looking for a book that helps me construct coherent sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into pages.

    I am new to writing (I am eighty pages into my first book), and I need advice on making my narrative and dialogue sound a little more realistic; I read it back and some sentences sound too stiff and forced.

    Thanks to anyone who can assist!



  2. #2
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    I recommend "Stein on Writing" by Sol Stein.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Thanks jayce!!

    Will grab it tonight.

  4. #4
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    I don't think there are any magic bullets, but in addition to the Sol Stein book Jayce recommended, you might try William Zinsser's On Writing Well , Theodore M. Bernstein's The Careful Writer, and Theodore A. Rees Cheney's Getting the Words Right. There are various "how I did it" books by successful authors, but, while being good reads, how they did it won't necessarily help you to do it and retain your own distinctive flair and voice. Many recommend Stephen King's book On Writing on this, but, though I found it an interesting background read on what he was doing when he was writing a book, I didn't think it was much of an answer for the question you ask.

    Others you might find helpful (in alpha order by author):

    Lawrence Block, Writing the Novel
    Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction
    Orson Scott Card, Characters & Viewpoint
    Ansen Dibell, Plot
    Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
    Diana Hacker, A Writer's Reference
    Handbook of Short Story Writing (preface by Joyce Carol Oates)
    Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
    Robert McKee, StoryRichard Rhodes, How to Write
    Albert Zuckerman, Writing the Blockbuster Novel

  5. #5
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    Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss is another good one, and was recommended to me by a lot of people.

  6. #6
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    A few more recommendations for you:

    On Writing, Stephen King
    The Art of Fiction, John Gardner
    Screenplay, Syd Field
    Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, Lawrence Block

    If you are truly a beginning writer, start with books by Sol Stein, Stephen King, or Janet Burroway. Burroway's book has some excellent practice writing exercises at the end of each chapter. It's a text that is often used in undergrad creative writing courses.

    Jeanne

  7. #7
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    Thanks!! Each book will be consumed shortly.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Henry, don't OD on a plethora of how-tos. Get a couple of the most highly recommended and spend time digesting what they have to say.

    Then write.

    Writing how-tos are road maps on how to get to the same place but they're not gonna take you there. Only you and your writing will.

  9. #9
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    Thank you Frank. I love this forum. In just the short time perusing Writersnet I see the benefits.

  10. #10
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    Hey, Henry (et al)

    Another good one, IMO, is June Casagrande's Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite. The other reco'ers above me reco'd some VERY GOOD books; I believe this one is a good complement to the others, as well as EXTREMELY hilarious (keeps you moving thru, seeing as it is sometimes tough to read beginning to end some of these how-tos; and, btw, what Frank said about not OD'ing on these is very on-point, IMO).

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