Friday, July 20, 2018

Two of My Favorite Books

Pens in a Cup
Two of my favorite books on writing are Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline by Dean Wesley Smith and Relaunch your Novel: Breathe Life into Your Backlist by Chris Fox.

Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline helped me break free of the guilt I felt for not using an outline when I wrote. Trust me, I’ve tried to write a novel by first outlining it, but in the end, I abandoned the outline at the first step and never looked back. After reading this book, I felt it was OK not to outline, but to fly by the seat of my pants. Now, I pants all my stories and I’m OK with that.

Relaunch Your Novel is another of my favorite books. It outlines how one can relaunch one’s backlist and possibly increase sales. This book is what led to my breaking up of several ponderous collections into more manageable works. It also led to my rediscovering my love for shorter works such as novellas and novelettes.

Another aspect of writing that was revealed to me by reading these books is that going back and fixing a title is OK as long as you let readers know the book is relaunch of a previously published work. When Jo and I were going through our catalog, we not only fixed grammatical errors, we also changed plot points in certain cases and gave the works new titles and cover art, again alerting the reader that these were previously published works. Now, you may disagree. You may think that once written, a story should never change. That is your prerogative as it’s my prerogative to think otherwise. We can agree to disagree and that’s OK with me.

Frank Carey

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