Suggested Resources

As I’ve mentioned before, I am in the process of researching how to write a book. I am a professional librarian and an avid reader, so I know books, how they are structured, the publication cycle, etc.  But I have never written a novel (yet).  This is the first of many posts that I plan to make public for myself and to others. My hope is that others will find these notes useful, and perhaps a little fun, for their own writing projects.

A great book that I would suggest reading is Practical Tips for Writing Popular Fiction (1992) by Robyn Carr.  It includes the genre fiction areas of romance, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, western, suspense, historical, action/adventure and horror. Many examples used in the book are from romance novels, since this is Robyn’s area of specialty, but it written broad enough to apply to the other genres mentioned above.

This book would be useful for a reference to help guide you through the overall writing process.  It includes wonderful insights and suggestions on what to include, what to avoid, character development, creating dynamic plot, dialogue between characters, and more. A book that Robyn Carr suggests is On Becoming a Novelist (1980) by John Gardner.

So what does it take to become a writer?

1. Enjoy writing. If you don’t like writing or find yourself unable to finish your projects, writing a novel is probably not cut out for you.  Choose an area to write about that you enjoy reading, and that you have extensive knowledge about or strong personal interest.  Join a writers group in your genre to practice writing, test ideas & writings techniques, and learn what you can from other writers who have more experience.

2. Extensive reading experience. You should read a ton of books in the area you choose to write–several dozens to hundreds of books!  Use these experiences to critique the work; figure out what works and doesn’t work and what makes the book so interesting.

3. Write well. If you are not able to write well, you will not be able to communicate your story effectively to others on paper.  Ultimately, your readers will not be able to understand what you are trying to say, and move on to the next book.  Also consider taking writing classes.  It takes time and energy to become a good writer.  Few people are born with the natural gift of writing–most authors understand that it takes years of practice to develop writing skills and that it is an ongoing skill to hone.