Craft of Writing Books on Kindle

When I fire up the 3G connection to visit the Kindle Store or drop by on my computer, I am greeted with a list of recommendations, and many of them are right on.   James Scott Bell, the author of Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth is one of my favorite writers on writing.   I bought his Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing at my local Half-Price Books, but I might have missed this one without Amazon’s suggestion..

Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth is a collection of essays and blog posts in e-book form only, which in itself illustrates some of the points Bell makes about e-publishing.  I grabbed it because I know and love his earlier books. Bell has an established audience for this type of publishing. Most of us don’t. And much of what is currently being self-published, Bell warns, is not quite ready for prime time.

Bell’s essays contain a wealth of information, advice, and encouragement, divided into sections on The Writing World (including such topics as “Just Because You Wrote It Doesn’t Mean You Should Publish It”), The Writing Life (“Is the Outlook for Fiction Bleak?”, “10 Things You need to Know About Agents,” “When Should You Quite Writing,” and many more), and The Writing Craft (“Ten Ideas from One Article, “What’s in a Name?”, “Synopsis Writing Made Easy,” and lots of others)  The book concludes with interviews with a dozen well-known writers.

It’s a shortish book, but I can’t tell you exactly how short. It’s on my Kindle, so it has no page numbers.  I miss page numbers, and I miss being able to flip back and forth between pages, especially in non-fiction.  But Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth does have a fully interactive table of contents, so the essays are easily accessible.

Another electronic craft book in my collection is Alexandra Sokoloff’s Screenwriting Tricks for Authors, also recommended by Amazon (clearly their clever marketing computer sees me coming).  Sokoloff covers Story Structure (three acts, eight sequences), Story Breakdowns, and The Business.  Her workbook approach is based on developing your own Writer’s Notebook, with lists of favorite movies/openings/endings, etc., and why they work for you.  I’m not very good at that sort of thing, not patient enough, perhaps, but her suggestions are sound.

As the title indicates, much of the book is based on the analysis of various movies, used to illustrate various aspects of story structure.  Most of the examples are films I have seen, but her descriptions make even unfamiliar films useful.  One of her favorite examples is Chinatown, which I haven’t seen in a very long time–I was inspired to track down a copy at Half-Price Books.  She includes a sort of viewer’s guide for the movies she analyzes in detail, giving the timing for important points.

When I looked up the book for this review, I discovered that Sokoloff has issued a second edition:  Writing Love, Screenwriting Tricks for Authors II, with the emphasis on romance.  Yes, of course, I downloaded it immediately.  It covers much the same territory with different examples, but for $2.99, how far wrong can you go?

And while I was there, I also dropped $4.99 on We Are Not Alone: the Writer’s Guide to Social Media, by Kristen Lamb (from Bob Mayer’s Who Dares Wins publishing operation).  One reviewer calls it “social media for luddites.”  That sounds like exactly what I need.

Not a total luddite, Golden Heart® finalist Kay Hudson can be found chatting about reading, writing, and shopping on her very own blog and web site,

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