Got a Book In You? Read This Book First

There are lots and lots of books about writing.

Good ones, too, like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Stephen King’s On Writing. And glancing over at my bookcase, I could list a dozen more. But I don’t know whether any of them would have yellow highlighter markings on every page like Steven James’ Story Trumps Structure.

It’s just that every page–every single page–has a gem that I need to remember, a sentence or two that I feel would be better written on a poster and stuck up on the bulletin board above my desk. But I don’t have time or room to make that many posters. So I highlight and re-read and question myself and my story as I work through each chapter, hoping that all the good writing stuff is sinking in and will show up in this latest manuscript.

To be honest, Steven James doesn’t need my recommendation. But you might. And so I couldn’t wait another day to tell you about Story Trumps Structure, even though I haven’t finished it.

Well, you’d be behind, too, if you had to stop and highlight every other line in the book.

10 thoughts on “Got a Book In You? Read This Book First

  1. This is one I haven’t heard of, but it looks like a good one. I’m at a point where I’ve read and re-read all the rules and knocked myself out trying to follow every one of them (the curse of being Type-A), and I’m coming to realize that it’s okay to break those rules once in a while. The adverb rule for one. I’m programmed to cut them out of my prose at all costs, but you know, when I leave one in there the world doesn’t fall apart. Imagine that. And sometimes the adverbs strengthen, rather than weaken, the voice. The other Big Important Rule, the show-don’t-tell rule, is another one that was turned on its head. I saw a workshop video recently with Lee Child who said, basically, “people don’t show stories, they tell them. Don’t be afraid to tell your story.” I get what he means—I still have to “show-don’t-tell,” but sometimes the telling, like the adverbs, makes the story stronger in the proper context. Anyway, thanks for the head’s up on this book. I have a B&N card my daughter gave me for my birthday that I’ve been saving, but now I know what to buy with it. 🙂

  2. Welllllll, it just so happens that I DO have a book in me! It also happens that I value any writing book you recommend, too. So I’m thinking I might have to look this one up over the weekend. The last writing book that was recommended to me (by Lisa) was Stephen King’s, and even though it took me a while to find a copy and read it, it was well worth it. I’ll try and move a little faster this time!

  3. Cathy–I don’t think I would like this book, since I ALWAYS follow the rules. (She said sarcastically.)

    Seriously, it looks like a good one. I’ll have to check it out.

    • Hahhaaha! Yes, Sioux, I think you’ll like it. If you get the Ceiling Fan Principle–and apply it–right there, you’ve got a better book. (At least, that’s what I’m hoping for me.) 🙂

  4. I have been a rule breaker from the very beginning and I shared that info at a panel presentation that I participated in years ago. It’s paid off.

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