Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reference Overload - A New Plan

One of my favorite things to do when I visit the bookstore is to roam through the writing reference section. I don't always let myself buy anything, because, let's face it, reading about writing doesn't get any writing done. If I find something that looks really great, or if I'm feeling particularly like I need inspiration, I'll buy something. That's probably one out of every ten trips. That doesn't sound like a lot, only 10%. I really put in in perspective when I stopped by the bookstore today. Out of all the books they had on writing, there were maybe ten that looked like something I would like that I don't already have at home. That's not just me, is it?

I've read some of all of them, and all of some of them. Some I went through, highlighted, took notes, did the exercises, and used them to improve my craft. Why not all of them, I wondered? At one point, with each book, I felt like it was just the thing I needed to get through this passage or that story. I realize that there's no secret formula in any book to writing the perfect story and having it published. I think the exercise with these books is to use them to get my butt in the chair and write - because we all know that practice is the only way to get better at anything. It also won't hurt to have some advice along the way, or to try something new.

So, starting this week, I am going through my writers' reference books, one chapter a week. I'll post an update after the week is up to see what I've learned (and to hold me accountable). Since I've been working on a YA novel, I'm going to start with Writing Great Books for Young Adults, by Regina Brooks.

If you have the book, feel free to work along with me and post your revelations in the comments for that week. I'll work through each chapter, one chapter a week (excluding introductions, prefaces, etc.). For this book, that will be 12 weeks. If you don't have the book, or don't want to work along, please feel free to come chime in on whatever post and comments there are for the week.

Note: The book link above will take you to the store section of, the publisher of Writing Great Books for Young Adults. Clicking on the book cover at the right will do the same.