Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More books on writing

The first I blame Trish -- this is the Michael Hauge book on Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds. He sounded interesting and I thought it would be intriguing to learn. It does not matter -- a writer always has to be able to describe her story quickly.

I have purchased two new books on writing.
The other was because his other book was unavailable at Amazon.co.uk. So I finally broke down and bought Dwight Swain's Techniques of the Selling Writer. It was first published in 1965 and I believe I read it as a teenager. It is one of The Bibles of fiction writing. Dixon and Maass both mention it. I had a quick look at the opening chapter. he has wonderful reposites for people who think that stories are simply formulas and can be done by computer or people who think that craft needs no honing. To my amusement, he used the example of a fictional writer of love pulp --Mable Hope Harley -- who had been writing for thirty years and who declared to the young writer that as she had learnt everything by simply reading, there was no need for craft to be taught. Swain disagrees -- in order to be able to pick up things up from reading, one must first know what one is looking for. One also has to know why certain rules came into being in the first place. For example, the HEA comes because the vast majority of readers prefer it and therefore the potential market on average is much larger. With romance, the readers demand it. In other words, he believes as McKee does, as do so many writers and teachers of craft that it is the mastery of craft that is important. The understanding of the why.

Swain is big on scene and sequel, but the way he is using the term sequel, it is not exactly how some people define it.

Anyway, it shall be interesting.

I also have restarted my Regency Part 1 as my deadline is beginning to loom.


Ray-Anne said...

One of the lightbulb moments of my life was attending the Robert McKee weekend course on screenwriting many years ago.
Mind altering.
I confess I found his book much harder going that the personal and passionate presentation, which was broken by examples on film and feeback from a live audience of film and TV pros.
Key take-away? There are two parts of any story telling process.
*The story.
*And the way you tell that story to the best effect.
And they are two separate and equally important things.
Lots of people can tell a story -eg. anecdote about that happened that morning on the way to work etc or Boy meets girl, they fall in love, then have problems, then reconcile, the end. One paragraph.
But few people know how to tell that story in the most effective way = craft which can be taught and learned.
He could not teach the first part -that comes from the author and their innate ability, but he could help with the second. And he knew plenty of folk making a living with craft alone.
John Truby is also excellent for screenwriting structure, but Michael Hague does have the edge when it comes to character in my view.
Now, back to the writing, despite the sunshine. Take care, Ray-Anne

Trish Wylie said...

Erm... oops... BAD ME... ;)

Will be interested to see what you think of the Hauge book Michelle... And I MIGHT be persuaded to lend out my DVD of the talk whilst buried in the writing cave this next couple of months if you're interested???

Now back to revisions I go hey-ho...

Michelle Styles said...

Ah revisions . Just finished mine. Now I am staring at deadlines.
Thank you for the offer of the dvd, Trish, but I doubt would get the time.
Mchael Hauge is v interesting though.