Thursday, November 6, 2014

Booking Through Thursday (38)

Booking Through Thursday asks:

What’s the most helpful book you’ve ever read?

I think that would probably be one of the books on writing I've read over the years... though I'm not sure I could pick just one.  And, also, you'd have to define what you meant by "helpful".  These books have been great for honing the craft of writing... but they haven't been so great for my reading life; now I tend to nitpick and I'm really hard on the books I read because I tend to spot the "errors".

Some of the books that I've found "helpful" are:

You Can Write a Novel by James V. Smith, Jr. - It's a great one for getting everything together so you can sit down and get something on the page.

The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler - It uses Joseph Campbell's work as its basis and builds on it with concrete examples from popular culture.  This is also an interesting book for readers, since it teaches about story structure.  (You'll never be able to read a book or watch a movie the same way after reading this one!)

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg - Its little snippets of wisdom are great for inspiration!

On Writing by Stephen King - It's funny that I've yet to read one of his novels, but I've read his book about writing novels!  He's got some great advice in here, along with some biographical material that makes for interesting reading.  Every writer should have a copy of this one!

What's the most helpful book you've ever read?  Tell me in the comments!


  1. I loved Stephen King's *On Writing*! That was a really fantastic book.

    I find that all my critical thinking training in high school, college, and grad school have made it hard for me to turn off my brain when taking in any kind of story. I'd never attributed it to learning about writing and storytelling, but that's probably a contributing factor, too.

    1. Yeah, I've found that the more I've learned, the harder it is to "turn off my brain" when I'm reading fiction, too. I used to be able to just read a book and enjoy it for the story. Now I'm analyzing and correcting and being all nit-picky in my head whenever I read any sort of fiction! Perhaps I missed my calling as an editor. (But probably not. I think that would be a very stressful job, looking for problems and mistakes all day.)

    2. I agree 100% about editing full-time. It's tempting when you know you have the skills, but the demanding and thanklessness make it much less attractive.

  2. haha I totally nit pick books now too! I've been looking for some good writing books, so I'll have to look these up. Every time I think I have this writing thing figured out I learn something new. I've read On Writing too, but none of his books. (I'm not a horror person) I tried to read his fantasy series, since it's so popular, but I couldn't get into it.

    1. I'd like to read Carrie, but I keep putting off reserving it at the library. I got a great deal on one of his other books just this morning. Something called Bag of Bones. It looks like it might be good, but it's over 700 pages, so I'm already intimidated!