My Week in Books: The Excerpt Edition

2014-09-12 10.11.13

Many of the books I’ve been deep in lately are useful for bits and pieces of craft advice: I need help with my writing, my plotting, especially for mystery. I can’t write without doing research often throughout my process. Other people can, but I find that what I’m writing forms what I’m researching, and the other way around.
I needed some help in the form of some craft books. I asked for advice from several of my writer friends, and got a list of books I could look at. So this, dear friends, is the excerpt edition of My Week in Books. I read bits of the following books this past week or so, brought to you once again via Dragon Dictation:

Real Revision, by Kate Messner


In this wonderful book, Kate has a whole section in her plotting plans for mystery for middle grades. I’ve really appreciated not only her advice, but how she shares the advice and experiences of a wide range of other writers in small snippets quoted throughout the book, too. I’ve only read two chapters so far. I’m glad I bought this one for myself. I’ll be referring to it often. I’d like to see it in the hands of some writing teachers I know, too.

I got it, as I said, for its section on writing mysteries for young people. However, it’s a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I really am enjoying the insights it’s giving me into my other work as well. Reading some of the tips and instructions for thinking about my writing helped me realize last week that I need to cut a large part from my current manuscript, one that doesn’t drive the story forward. That in some ways is a blow, but in some ways is very heartening and exciting.

Ships for the Seven Seas: Philadelphia in the Age of Industrial Capitalism, by Thomas R. Heinrich


So many excerpts I’ve read from this book! It’s jampacked with history that’s easy to find by topic in the massive index at the back. I’ve read about patterning fresh new ship design, I’ve read about housing for riveting gangs, the jobs of each of the people in a riveting gang, and many other historical facts that help me with my current work.

Writing Mysteries, Movies, Monster Stories and More, by Nancy Bentley and Donna Guthrie


This one is obviously geared toward middle school students, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t good. I’ve gotten a few tips on plotting and planning for mystery writing from this book.

Now Write! Mysteries, edited by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson

This book is filled with sticky notes and bookmarks currently, as I’m reading many articles about various aspects of writing mysteries. I’m learning all I can in small doses as I begin this journey.
Writing Irresistible Kidlit, by Mary Kole


This one’s being filled with sticky notes, too. Another good book, recommended by another writer, in my quest to write better fiction for young people

So there you have my excerpt stack. It’s all right to read parts of books as you need them. A few of these bear going back to again and again, band I’m glad I’ll be able to do that.  Is there a book you read just a part of this week?

About vst3in

I am a writer, avid reader, library techie, birder and runner. I make felt and teach others. I love colors and textures and birds and books. I'm working on a historical novel and reading lots of books for young people. I am running to get stronger, and I sail with my husband. This blog contains thoughts about all these things.
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