Monday, May 26, 2014

Off the Bookshelf: WRITING LOVE, by Alexandra Sokoloff

Yes, I know I'm breaking the chain of steampunk novels and novellas I've been reading and reporting on, but I've been reading a chapter of this book every morning and finally finished.

I advocate reading writing books on a regular basis just because they present writing principles and techniques from different angles and approaches. Somewhere in there, even if you're reading and re-reading things you already know and are already putting into practice with your writing, somewhere in there will be an "Ah HAH!" moment and you'll get a breakthrough. You'll find a tool you never had before.

The nifty thing about Sokoloff is that she approaches novel writing from screenwriting techniques. She analyzes a large handful of movies, pointing out the patterns they have in common, what makes them good stories, how they control the pace and flow of the story, the various types of characters, the elements of plot that are necessary, and adapts Campbell and Vogler and what they teach about the hero's/author's journey. She gives exercises and homework assignments that you can apply to your current work-in-progress. There's a lot of meat to this book, a lot of common sense advice. Well worth the time to read -- and maybe in a year when you've forgotten some of the principles and exercises, going back through to read again and refresh your brain.

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