Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

75 Books for Writers (and Readers)

My theory is that if a book is useful to a writer, then it is useful to an avid reader. Most of them anyway. Here is a blog post at OnlineUniversities.com with a compiled list of 75 books of particular interest to writers. The blogger arranged the books into 9 categories which, of course, overlap somewhat: writing basics, advice from authors, improving your writing, grammar, references, writing as a career, genre or format specific, classics, and creativity and motivation.

It seems to be a good list. All of my spot-check selections were in the list: Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Strunk & White (woe be it if that weren't there) and a couple others.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Story Openings

Writers are (or should be) obsessed with the opening of a story, whether long or short fiction. There are websites devoted to the discussion and review of the opening 13 lines or so to make sure it has a hook to snag the reader, or more importantly, an editor or agent, reeling them in to the second page. Why is an editor or agent more important than the reader? Legend has it that the reader will never see the work if an editor or agent with a stack of "slush" to the ceiling does not turn that first page of a manuscript, which traditionally has 13 lines. Hatrack River Writers Forum (associated with Orson Scott Card) is devoted to the opening, where no syllable goes unnoticed, and Evil Editor's Blog has an opening review feature where he and his evil minions pour over your innocent work.

Have you been rejected by Jeff Vandermeer?

Um, yes. More than once. Why do you ask?

Well, then, you'll want to go here to exact your revenge on the man: he's exposed the opening of his novel, Finch, to public scrutiny.

You needn't say more. Later.

But I will. He's doing a series on the writers' craft, the story-opening post being the second of that series.

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