Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Fiction Writer's Handbook

This post has been sitting in my drafts for ages.  I don't know why I didn't get around to finishing it.  I guess I just wasn't sure what to say. I didn't know what to expect when I won The Fiction Writer's Handbook from Goodreads.  I was very excited. There's a forward by Christopher Moore, followed by some interested instructions for how to use this book. The Fiction Writer's Handbook isn't necessarily a book you're going to read from start to finish. Though Moore and author Shelly Lowenkopf do recommend that you read the whole book. It's structured more like a reference book, but after reading several entries, I can see what they mean.

I thought that I'd try to read the book from the beginning, but it didn't feel right.  My next thought was to begin my journey through the book with an entry that had already jumped out at me.  I started with Agenda. Agenda referenced 18 more entries.  With that kind of start, I figure by the time I was done, I would have read the whole book or at least close to it.  I started with the first reference term, Character, read it, then instead of going back to the next term mentioned in Agenda, I went to Narrative, the first term referenced in Character.  So many terms are referenced in each entry that after a while, I knew I couldn't keep reading it like this.

In the end, I'm treating it like a reference book.  If I want to know something or am stuck somewhere, I can pick it up. I can also pick it up and browse a few terms if I'm feeling stuck. Moore's introduction was definitely worth the read.  I think one day I might read it from beginning to end.  The descriptions of each term are in depth and interesting.  I keep it nearby when writing as I think it is helpful.  To read it like I would another book, I just can't do it.  If you are a writer or interested in writing, however, I do think this is a great book to have in your reference collection.  

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