My favorite writing sources
Writing is both art and craft. The life-long journey begins with mastering the basics of grammar and manuscript format; then the writer moves on to explore and develop other aspects of the craft. These are some of my favorite guides for the writer's journey.
If You Want To Write, Brenda Ueland
When you need encouragement to remind yourself why you're writing, visit Ms. Ueland. A writing teacher for decades, she teaches that everyone has the capacity to write — and should follow the urge without fail. "With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good. It has stretched your understanding." [1987 Graywolf edition, p.15]
On Writing, Stephen King
A blunt, direct look at the art and craft of writing. In this part-memoir, part-guide, King tells it like it is. It's one of the very best.
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King
Even after we've mastered the nitty-gritty of grammar and format, we still need reminders. Read this book before you start writing your book, and again when you're finished. Then, along with Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, take regular inoculations to keep yourself from falling into common traps.
Telling Lies for Fun and Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers, Lawrence Block
One of the first nuts-and-bolts books I read, and I still return to master the lessons. Block talks about the things beginning writers fixate on: First person or third? Should I outline? What's an outline? I was alarmed the first time I read "treat every page as if it's your final draft" because I'm a messy, have-to-try-it-several-times-to-get-it-right kind of writer. The lesson? Different writers tread different paths.
Walking on Water, Madeleine L'Engle
L'Engle focuses on the spirituality of the creative endeavor. She is candid, encouraging, and intensely personal, and she challenegs writers to recognize the obligations they owe their readers.
Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America, Sue Grafton, editor
The handbook for mystery writers, it's crammed with advice from lots of the best names in mystery writing, including a chapter on what editors are looking for by my own wonderful editor, Ruth Cavin. It covers everything from work schedules to revision to subgenres.
Some Links for Writing
- www.mysterywriters.org — Website for The Mystery Writers of America
- www.sistersincrime.org — Website for Sisters In Crime
- www.minotaurbooks.com — The St. Martin's Press website has information on submitting manuscripts for both the Malice Domestic/SMP and Private Eye Writers/SMP contests
- www.crime-scene-investigator.net — Informative website on crime scene investigation, including detailed book listing
- www.practicalhomicide.com — Site by Vernon Geberth, Lieutenant Commander (retired), New York City Police Department, and author of Practical Homicide Investigation (CRC Press), a text highly recommended by working homicide investigators
- www.themotivatedwriter.com — Each issue will take you inside the mind of a bestselling author. Explore the markets with successful freelancers. Discover the writing habits of producing writers. Take a peek inside the office of established scribblers.