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Bookstore Bonanza!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last Friday, I drove over to the relatively new shopping area on the other side of downtown Nashville from where I live, where the only remaining non-religious chain bookstore exists within the Nashville city limits—Books-A-Million on Charlotte Pike—to see if they had any of my books in stock. (Yes, you read that correctly: Nashville—the city known for more than a century as the Athens of the South because of the number of newspaper, magazine, and book publishers in town—is down to just one major big-box chain bookstore within the city limits. They had one copy of TAoR on the shelf.)

But as I was leaving, I accidentally walked past the Reference section (which is quite inconveniently located at the front of the store), and I accidentally stopped and looked to see what books they had on fiction writing. And . . . I accidentally walked out of the store with four of them (product descriptions are from Amazon):

How to Grow a Novel (Sol Stein)
Yes, I’ve quoted from this one in a few different writing series, but only because I checked it out from the library. Now I own it!

    Product Description
    How to Grow a Novel is not just a book, but an invaluable workshop in print. It includes details and examples from Stein’s editorial work with a #1 bestselling novelist as well as talented newcomers. Stein takes the reader backstage in the development of memorable characters and fascinating plots. The chapter on dialogue overflows with solutions for short-story writers, novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights. Stein shows what readers are looking for—and what they avoid—in the experience of reading fiction. The book offers guidelines– and warnings– of special value for nonfiction writers who want to move into fiction. Stein points to the little, often overlooked things that damage the writer’s authority without the writer knowing it. And this book, like no other writing book, takes the reader behind the scenes of the publishing business as it affects writers of every level of experience, revealing the hard truths that are kept behind shut doors.

Zen in the Art of Writing (Ray Bradbury)
My dear friend Chris alerted me to this one—her English professor mentioned it to her and she told me she’d ordered it. So when I saw that one lonely copy sitting on the shelf, I had to rescue it. She and I plan to powwow over this when I see her in July!

    Product Description
    “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it’s your turn. Jump!” Zest. Gusto. Curiosity. These are the qualities every writer must have, as well as a spirit of adventure. In this exuberant book, the incomparable Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experience, and excitement of a lifetime of writing. Here are practical tips on the art of writing from a master of the craft-everything from finding original ideas to developing your own voice and style-as well as the inside story of Bradbury’s own remarkable career as a prolific author of novels, stories, poems, films, and plays. Zen In The Art Of Writing is more than just a how-to manual for the would-be writer: it is a celebration of the act of writing itself that will delight, impassion, and inspire the writer in you. In it, Bradbury encourages us to follow the unique path of our instincts and enthusiasms to the place where our inner genius dwells, and he shows that success as a writer depends on how well you know one subject: your own life.

What Would Your Character Do? (Eric and Ann Maisel)
One of my issues with the last two contemporary novels I wrote (well, all three of the Matchmakers books, maybe) is that I feel like I’ve been there, done that with my characters—yet at the same time, I feel like I’m having trouble getting to know them at a deep level. Since I have the luxury of time right now in which to get to know my characters quite well before I start working on the next novel (whichever one that turns out to be), I’m hoping this book will help me come up with some new and interesting twists so that I’m not repeating myself with my characters in the future.

    Product Description
    Not just another dry, how-to instruction book, “What Would Your Character Do?” is the first interactive guide that encourages writers to get inside their characters’ heads as they create them. This fascinating book: provides more than 20 quizzes to help writers analyse their characters’ traits; features easy-to-understand psychological summaries and prompts for further exploration; and includes a wealth of writing and psychology expertise to help writers create believable characters. Whether readers are exploring how their characters react to the death of a loved one or how their characters learned to ride a bike, they’re sure to emerge with more compelling heroes, heroines and villains than ever before.

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists (Andrew McAleer, ed.)
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen a couple of quotes about writing from authors every day for the past several days—they all came from this book. Not only am I enjoying finding all of these great little tidbits to share, but I’m avidly highlighting others to use in future workshops (and possibly more craft-of-writing blog posts).

    Product Description
    This title focuses on the behaviors necessary to succeed in the dog-eat-dog world of fiction writing by asking successful authors how they practice their craft. Readers will learn how to adopt those habits on their quest to become novelists. The book will inspire, nourish, and provide the needed kick in the pants to turn the wannabes into doers! The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists is full of “aha” experiences as the reader uncovers the collected wisdom from the cream of today’s fiction writers.

What books have you added to your To Be Read pile recently?

  1. Tuesday, June 21, 2011 7:08 am

    Looks like you founds some great writing books. Sadly, that’s one thing that lacks on my bookshelves. Not enough. I have obtained most of my writing knowledge by studying hard online, including your site. A bit unconventional, but it does include reading on Google Books, and I do have a few books on writing romance. I live in a rural area and don’t get to bookstores often, but love the opportunity when I get it. There’s nothing like that experience. It’s like being in a cocoon of books.


  2. Tuesday, June 21, 2011 10:24 am

    I will have to look for the “What Would Your Characters Do?” next time I head to BAM. For one thing, I love quizzes. 😀 For another thing, I feel the same way about my characters. Oh, I’ve poured a lot of me into them, but for some reason there’s that little bit of them that will not let me inside their heads. Does that even make SENSE? Thanks for sharing some great titles, Kaye!


  3. Tuesday, June 21, 2011 12:53 pm

    Oh, you make me wish I was still on Twitter, Kaye;) I’ve been reading JS Bell’s latest Kindle book on craft and it’s very good. He always makes me think. Plus he has a wicked sense of humor! I’ve also dug up a book titled, “Behind the Stories,” in which Christian novelists reveal the heart in the art of their writing, or so the blurb says. I bought it prior to publication but found it so painful that I put it away. Maybe it will be less painful now that I’m published… Thanks for the great titles. I always think of you as being on the cutting edge of things and here you go again:)


  4. Tuesday, June 21, 2011 2:32 pm

    I added recently Writing So Heaven Will Be Different. I actually added a bookcase to my writing area and filled it yesterday with my writing books as well as research books for historical writing. Now I need to clean off my desk and I’m ready to get writing and editing again. 🙂

    Jodie Wolfe


  5. Tuesday, June 21, 2011 2:47 pm

    I’m enjoying Mary DeMuth’s new e-book, The 11 Secrets of Getting Published.


  6. Tuesday, June 21, 2011 5:45 pm

    It was nice meeting you today at Berean 🙂 I’m excited to show your book to both my mother and a friend from church. They both really enjoy Historical Romance.



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