Monday, June 1, 2009


My fascination with writing books started as a teenager when there were few around; now it has turned into big business and is always my favorite part of the bookstore to peruse. I’m sure other writers share this interest. Rather than just reading writing books (very easy), this blog will be about actually working with writing books (more challenging). As I write my novels, I invite you to participate with me as we go through different writing book exercises. This is how it will work:

1. I will pick a particular writing book. As time goes on and I pick up readers, I will be open to suggestions about which ones to select.
2. I will then select certain exercises that catch my fancy (again open to reader suggestion) and post them, one by one, here in advance. Just as a warning, I reserve the right to do a certain amount of skipping around. That means, I won’t necessarily select exercises that start with planning and starting your fiction and going from there. But I will flag your attention to the category of the exercise, such as setting, character, showing not telling, plot, dialogue, and so forth, typically using the author’s system for labeling.
3. The next posting will involve my illustration of the exercise and a reflection of the process.
4. You are invited to comment on what I have written and/or participate in the exercise. You can even send me the result of your efforts and your reflection of how it went. I will then select a couple of reader examples to post.
5. Another option that I will occasionally do and that you are welcome to try, is to find, as you read fiction, how particular authors exemplify the particular technique we are working on.
6. I will attempt to contact the author of the writing book and ask him or her to view the discussion about the exercises and offer any insights or comments.
7. When we are finished with a particular book, I will offer a summary (a kind of review) of how the exercises have worked for me and other readers that have tried them.
8. As we go, I will keep a list of “favorite” exercises in each category (setting, character, plot, dialogue).

The purpose of all this is to keep us inspired and motivated to write and to develop our skills and techniques through the use of fiction writing books.

I aim to post about three times a week. The first book will be Novel Shortcuts by Laura Whitcomb, published in 2009 by Writer’s Digest. Stay tuned for the first exercise!

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