Guest Blogger: Reon Laudat

Michigan-based author Reon Laudat has seven romance novels to her credit. Here she shares with us some books on the craft of writing that she has found helpful. For more about Reon, visit her website.

Take it away, Reon!

There's no shortage of books available about the craft and business of writing. Over the years I've amassed an impressive collection. In other words, I'm a writing/publishing book junkie!

I have most of the popular old standbys: GMC--Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Debra Dixon; Bird by Bird by Ann Lamont; Story by Robert McKee; Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne/Dave King; and the whole Writers Digest Elements of Fiction Writing series in hardcover.

Here's a list of my most recent favorites and quick notes on why I found them helpful.

Manuscript Makeover--Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore by Elizabeth Lyon. This is one of the most thorough books on revision that I've come across in a while. A detailed and methodical guide to developing a revision process that works for you - whether it's just about tweaks or a major overhaul. If you're willing to do the work, this book can help you home in on and fix your manuscript's weaknesses.

The Resilient Writer- Tales of Rejection & Triumph From 23 Top Authors, compiled by Catherine Wald. Writing can be a lonely, challenging and frustrating endeavor. Insight and inspiration for picking yourself up and dusting yourself off when the road to publication or staying published gets rough. Authors profiled include E. Lynn Harris, Elinor Lipman, Wally Lamb, M.J. Rose and Amy Tan.

Will Write for Shoes - How To Write A Chick Lit Novel by Cathy Yardley. I know chick lit as a genre is supposedly dead, but this book contains a lot of solid advice that can be used for any type of novel. I found the chapter titled "Driving with a Map" worth the price of the book. Yardley effectively shrinks Jack Bickham's wonderful book titled Scene & Structure to a two-page highlights reel. It's perfect for those short on reading time. This is an excellent basic book for aspiring authors.

Write Away - One Novelist's Approach To Fiction & The Writing Life by Elizabeth George. This New York Times bestselling author of "literary mysteries" presents a detailed diary of her writing process. My own copy is glowing with pink highlighting of advice I've returned to again and again. I've been known to give this one to fellow writers on my Christmas gift list. One section I found particularly interesting was about what she refers to as "THAD" or "Talking Head Avoiding Devices." She describes THAD as "an activity going on in a scene that would otherwise consist of dialogue ." She explains that chosen wisely THAD can do more than provide a visual for the reader. It can be used as a tool for revealing character. The back of the book contains a list of THAD suggestions to get the creative juices flowing.

Time To Write by Kelly L. Stone. There's a plan for fitting writing into any schedule. More than 100 busy writers reveal what works for them. I thought I'd heard it all. It hasn't been easy writing with my preschooler underfoot. Calling on the muse when I'm exhausted has been a challenge. This book has helped me stay motivated when the sofa and Dancing with the Stars or Top Model beckon.

Between the Lines - Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing by Jessica Page Morrell. I bought this book for the chapters on handling epiphanies, transitions and backstory, but got so much more. Highly recommended.

The Making of A Bestseller by Brian Hill/Dee Power. An excellent book about the business side of writing. Includes interviews with editors, agents, booksellers and top-selling authors. My favorite chapter is titled "Getting Books On The Shelves And Out The Door."

Thanks, Reon! I'm sure these aids will prove helpful for aspiring as well as published writers.


Patricia W. said...

Thanks Bettye and Reon! I discovered a number of new titles here that look like they might be worth adding to my resource library.

Anonymous said...

Glad you found the list helpful, Patricia!

Reon :-)

Lori said...

Thanks for the list. I've used one of the old popular standbys, SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS for years. It's wonderful. I keep hearing great things about BIRD BY BIRD, so maybe I'll go pick it up, along with some of the newer ones you named.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lori,
I just purchased "After the Dance." It's at the top of my TBR pile.

I must admit that I've read a lot of solid writing advice over the years, but I haven't always remembered the tips while writing. When I do remember the tips I don't always use them. I'm trying to do much better with my first non-romance work in progress. What I know for sure is that I still have so much to learn and a burning desire to up my game.

Reon :-)

shelia said...

Thanks for the list of books. I plan on getting "Manuscript Makeover--Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore by Elizabeth Lyon."

Anonymous said...

Hey Sheila,

Been off line for a while. Hope you find "Manuscript Makeover helpful.

R :-)