Friday, October 22, 2010

Telling Lies for Fun & Profit - Indispensabe Books for Writers

Telling Lies for Fun & Profit: A Manual for Fiction WritersThe first time I read Telling Lies For Fun & Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers by Lawrence Block I was about twelve. Mom and I would take turns reading this one aloud while we did chores. It wasn't just an intelligent, useful book on writing, it was witty and a great read. We chortled, we cried, we read chapters over and over again, we went out to find his Matthew Scudder books, his Bernie Rhodenbarr books and anything else we could find by him. Yes, the writing in Telling Lies was just that good.

Block taught me a lot of important things about writing. Probably the most useful was when to give a bear a canoe.

Writing the Novel: From Plot to PrintThe first part of the book is on the business of writing itself. And Block should know a lot about that. He has somewhere near 60 published novels, numerous short stories and articles; and his Writing the Novel From Plot to Print and Spider Spin Me a Web are also stellar books on the art and craft of writing.

Part Two of Telling Lies deals with getting your writing written, from setting writing hours, to dealing with writers block to revising effectively and where to find ideas to write about in the first place.

Parts Three and Four, however is where this particular book shines. Block teaches you how to start a story with a bang...or a body; and why you shouldn't start at the beginning. He handles details, transitions, creating a strong plot and a powerful, sympathetic character...and then making his life miserable. Then the details of making your writing exciting to read, covering dramatic dialogue, creating verbs with punch and sultry adjectives.

Spider, Spin Me a Web: A Handbook for Fiction WritersIf I had to choose one writing book from my shelf and give up all the others Telling Lies for Fun and Profit would probably be the one I'd keep. Now excuse me while I marmelade some toast, and jump into my canoe to go hunt down a bear as I cuddle up with this old friend.

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