Sunday, July 31, 2011

Random Craft Post Three

Not sure this is actually a Craft Post because the book I'm going to talk about is not exactly a craft book but more as the title (How I Write) says - one author's take on writing for publication.

That author just happens to be the hilarious Janet Evanovich, creator of the very popular Stephanie Plum books. I must admit I've only read about three (not 1,2,3 either) in the Plum series. I enjoyed them all, just have very limited reading time at the moment. However, when I saw Janet had written a book ABOUT writing, I had to have it. Surely someone who has hit the bestseller lists time and time again would have something useful to say.

I read this book in one sitting and got many nuggets of gold from it. Some were reminders of things I already knew, some were light bulb moments and other just particularly fitting because I've just finished a first draft. One of these were the saying she quotes from Stephen King: ''A Second Draft = A First Draft minus 10%''. I'm hoping this is the case for my recently finished wip, cos it could do with losing a few ks.

Right... now before I go, I'm gonna do what a random craft post is supposed to do and open the book at a random page and share what lies there. Here goes....

Janet's take on plotting:
Plotting isn't my favorite thing, but here's how I do it. I listen to some cheesy disco music to get my energy up. Then I sit down with a yellow pad and a big bag of chips. I think about a crime and why it would occur. What were the bad guys thinking? What did they want? How did they do it? Why did they get caught? How did the capture go down? I see it as a movie. Then I write out my little time line of action.

I really enjoyed reading Janet's book. As I said, it's not a How-To write book exactly but more an insight into how this really talented author does her stuff. I wish more of my favourite writers would publish books about their process.

So... you guys read any good craft books lately?


Lacey Devlin said...

I loved Janet's book too. That's one of my favorite Stephen King quotes and I can recommend his book as well. I just started The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. You can't go wrong with Donald.

Nas Dean said...

I have been recommending craft books and posts on craft to soem M&B new voices hopefuls who are emailing me about it!

I have two or three very good craft posts by authors on my blog.

Rachael Johns said...

Thanks Lacey - I'll have to check that one out. I loved Stephen King's on writing too :)

Nas - I'll have to have a trawl through your blog too. And how good of you to help the NV entrants!

Mon said...

Rach, would you recommend Janet's book? I'm reading craft books at the moment, so I'm interested in the best ones.

scarlet wilson said...

I am currently drowning in craft books. Last year I bought them by the truck load. So DON'T recommend any more! xx

Rachael Johns said...

Mon - that's a hard one. I enjoyed it but I have to say I probably didn't actually LEARN anything from it. It's more an interesting insight into how one hugely successful author goes about writing.

Susan - LOL! You gonna tell us YOUR favourite then?

joanne pibworth said...

Think we might have talked about this one before, but just in case - Writing the breakout Novel by Donald Maass is terrific. You're going to laugh at me now - I keep it on the shelf next to the loo and read randomly from it every time i'm in there! I've read it through once, and now have daily doses to get it all to really sink in.
Another one I really read alot is Story by Robert Mckee.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Joanne. Love Story by McKee and Writing the Breakout Novel by Maas. I read Janet's a long time ago and remember laughing a lot! She's a hoot, no matter WHAT she writes.

Jackie Ashenden said...

Me and craft books don't get on. I can never quite 'get' how to apply them to my own writing. But I do like hearing how other people do it.

Coleen Kwan said...

I don't have a huge number of craft books. The one I refer to the most is 'Between the Lines' by Jessica Page Morrell.
I've ordered Revision and self-editing (James Scott Bell. Hopefully it will improve my editing!

Rachael Johns said...

LOL Joanne! That IS funny. But with young kids I can imagine that's one of the few times you get a moment to yourself. Actually, probably not even then... mine FOLLOW me INTO the loo

Aimee- I won STORY a few years back. I really should get around to reading it! And I haven't actually read much Janet Evanovich but I'm gonna change that cos she just CRACKS ME UP!

Jackie - you should read this one. It's such a hoot!

Colleen - I know I don't need anymore books but I'm gonna check out that Between The Lines one and do tell us how the editing one goes :)

Suzanne Brandyn said...

No, not of late. :) But my favourite is Writing the Breakout Novel Donald Mass.

Been too busy lately to read. :)