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5 Books on Writing | Quiller Recommendations [CC]

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Happy New Year, quillers! I would apologise from my absense from vlogging,
but I feel that doing so would imply that you were desperately waiting for me to post,
which is more that a little pretentious. So without further ado, here are five quiller
books on writing. Coming in at number five is ‘Making A Good
Script Great’ by Linda Segar. This book was actually recommended to me by
a family friend and is a must for any script writer, particularly if you’re writing a screenplay. It taught me all about the Three Act Structure,
which breaks down the vague Beginning-Middle-End, and I’ve not only been able to use the Three
Act Structure when writing scripts, but I’ve been able to apply it to my novel writing,
and I even broke it down into seven parts for writing short stories. Linda Segar uses examples from films like
Back to the Future and Witness and The African Queen to just drive home the points that she
makes in this book – and it is brilliant. I use it for film scripts, play scripts, I’m
probably gonna use it for writing web series scripts. It goes into character depth, and interweaving
subplots, and raising the stakes, and even how to make your script marketable so you
can actually sell it and have it made. So if you’re a script writer – or a potential
script writer – make sure you check out ‘Making A Good Script Great’ by Linda Segar. Number four is only on this list ’cause it’s
purple! I’m kidding – it’s ‘Characters & Viewpoints’
by Orson Scott Card. Some of you may have read Card’s novels. I have not – so that is completely irrelevant. But this book, to coin a cliche phrase, made
me think outside the boxicle. Reading this book really made me think about
how I could better my writing and make my characters more intricate and complex and
interesting, and the sort of questions I can ask to up the stakes and to understand my
story better. There’s a brilliant part in this book where
Card actually visited a class of…fourth graders? I’m gonna pretend I know what that age group
is. And he got them to create a story together,
where he just kept asking them questions, but he also made it so the answers were really
difficult. Like, he helped them to up the stakes. Like, every time they came up with an answer
that would be easy, he knocked down that solution and said ‘That’s not possible’ to raise the
stakes, and it – well, it’s hilarious, actually, the story that these kids come up with – but
it just really breaks it down, and goes into how you just have to keep upping the ante,
because otherwise it’s just too easy and it becomes boring for the reader. I have purchased and borrowed from the library
a lot of books on writing, and tons of them just don’t help – they’re complete snooze-fests
– but this one is a must-read. So check it out, because I think I might have
read this from cover to cover. If I didn’t, I got pretty close. At number three is ‘Hooked’ by Les Edgerton. I like to read this book in the bath – ’cause
it’s got a little fishy on it! This book is entirely about the beginning
of your story. The first sentence, the first paragraph, the
first chapter – because if the beginning of your story sucks – pfft – I’m not gonna read
it. Once you pass the book-cover-judgy part – which
you know you only did ’cause ya got a fishy on it – your reader’s gonna turn to the first
page, look at Chapter One, and go – zzzzz. “But that’s not fair, my book’s really good
– the first sentence doesn’t do it justice!” Shut up. If I don’t get hooked, I’m swimming away,
and this book is gonna stop me from doing that. This book goes into the first sentence, the
inciting incident, setup, backstory, foreshadowing – all that jazz that you need to get me and
everyone else to actually keep reading your book. Now this may be number three on my list, but
it should probably be number one on yours, because the beginning is the most important
part of your book…until the next part of your book. But, I’m never gonna get to the next part
of your book if the beginning sucks. So read this book – ‘Hooked’ by Les Edgerton. Now. One of the first two books I ever bought on
writing was ‘Writing the Breakout Novel’ by Donald Maass. I’m afraid to tell some of you this – because
I don’t want you hating on me – but I have underlined a lot of this book in pencil. This book is actually really great for someone
who doesn’t even know what the premise of their story is, because it goes from the very
beginning, of generating ideas, all the way through everything. That being said, there’s also the ‘Writing
the Breakout Novel Workbook’, which is great for someone who already has the first draft
of their novel written. Aw, I forgot to say this was the second book
on my list! Oh wait – it isn’t. This combines ‘Writing the Breakout Novel’
and the ‘Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook’ – and I think another book by Donald Maass
– and it just has all the things. It’s simply called ‘The Breakout Novelist’
– and who doesn’t wanna be that? Coming in at number one of my quiller list
is ‘The Writer’s Book of Wisdom’ by Steven Taylor Goldsberry. It’s travel-sized, so you can take it everywhere! I don’t know how to do this justice with a
summary, so instead I’m gonna read you a few of the rule titles from the book. Five: Write to Be Great, Not Rich. Twenty-One: Ignore the Length of Your First
Draft. Twenty-Five: Borrow – and Steal – From Your
Favourite Writers. Thirty-Seven: The “As” Clause Is For Amateurs. Ninety-One: Art Shows Up In Re-Writing. The wit and intelligence and insight of this
book will make you a better writer, and will help you with whatever story you’re writing,
be it a novel or a short story – anything. It is spectacular and you have to pick it
up, whether at your library, or at a bookstore – I have seen it going for a cent on Amazon,
which obviously doesn’t include shipping, but wow. So those are my five quiller books on writing
– and of course I have plenty of others, but those are the ones that I’ve really dug into. If you have any books on writing that you
particularly love, I’d love to hear about them. Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you
soon!

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15 thoughts on “5 Books on Writing | Quiller Recommendations [CC]”

  1. Les Edgerton says:

    Thank you so much for reading my lil blue book in the bathtub! That absolutely made my day!

  2. Krystal says:

    It's not pretentious, it's TRUE! 🙁

  3. Krystal says:

    You have now idea how useful this video was, I've been looking for good books to help improve my writing! Needless to say, I'll be looking into these. o_o

  4. russodd says:

    Do any of these books have tips for powering through the revision process? That's been the trickiest part for my writing so far…

    Also, what was that you said about writing scripts for a web series? Are you talking about writing these vlogs, or is that a separate project? Just curious.

  5. The Digital Roze says:

    I want to be a writer or work in film, ill have to look for these 🙂

  6. Quill Café says:

    Thank you for watching, you made mine!

  7. Quill Café says:

    If you're curious about any more, I know of several but these are the ones I have found most useful.

  8. Quill Café says:

    When you say "revision" do you mean rewriting or editing? The Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (and thus also The Breakout Novelist) has a lot of tips and exercises on strengthening your manuscript in rewrites. The Writer's Book of Wisdom has all sorts of things, so if you're looking for an overall insightful scope, I'd look into that one.

    When I referred to writing scripts for web series, I indeed meant a separate project to vlogging. I'm fascinated by that story telling format.

  9. Krystal says:

    Most definitely. Share your knowledge with me. O_O

  10. Quill Café says:

    Awesome! So are you interested in writing for films or other types of fiction or non-fiction? It's brilliant how many mediums writing lends itself to and what can come from your own creativity.

  11. Quill Café says:

    It's truly pretentious!

  12. The Digital Roze says:

    Im not sure i do alot of fiction writing now and i also love film so maybe they will clash together in my career

  13. Quill Café says:

    I'm glad. There are a lot of mediocre books on writing out there but when you find a good one it's like you've hit upon a nugget of gold. Best of luck with your writing!

  14. Quill Café says:

    Happy New Year! Revisiting a few of my favourite books on writing. Here's to a productive year ahead.

  15. Janne says:

    If you haven't read A Writer's Tale, you totally should. Not only does it indulge your Whovian side, it was also interesting to get to see some of the process that goes behind Russell T Davies' scriptwriting. I'm not a writer, but I still found it quite fascinating. 🙂

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