Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reference Block

Current Reading: Myths of the North American Indians, by Lewis Spence

Inspirational Quote: "The great thing is to last and get your work done, and see and hear and understand and write when there is something that you know and not before and not too damn much afterwards." -- Ernest Hemingway

I've been extremely fortunate over the last week to have come across some wonderful writing resources on the net. Many of them tell me things I've read before, but apparently I needed to hear them again because they're having a positive impact on my work.

The Magic District: A blog by a bunch of writers which often discusses useful techniques. In particular, this article was very helpful and led to these other resources:

Randy Ingermanson describes an outlining technique which breaks down plotting into manageable bits. He's also got a great discussion of scenes and their anatomy.

Holly Lisle has some great articles, including the One Pass Revision article which offers hope for those of us who find ourselves languishing in the 9th Circle of Revision.

I read a screenwriting book once, the name of which is lost to time. I had no desire to become a script writer, although it might be fun someday, but a friend offered it to me because he thought I'd benefit from a discussion of story structure. He was right. The above articles on structure led me to look for on-line articles that might refresh my memory and provide some perspective.

Here's a good one on the three-act structure complete with illustrations.

TVTropes, which is a wonderful resource for just about every story telling element, convention or cliche, has a good summary as well.

Author Jim Butcher, who has had some success, offers up some wonderful guidance on his livejournal pages (the pages are old, but the advice is ever-relevant).

And last, for those considering short-story writing, IO9 gives up 12 secrets to prolific short story writing.

I have no doubt that anyone reading this has their own favorite internet resources for writing and revision techniques. I'd like to know what they are, to expand my own virtual reference shelf, so please let me know in the comments.

4 comments:

slcard said...

Nope. None. Sorry. I'm a learn by doing sort.

Ulysses said...

I can't say that would work for me. There are many insights and perspectives available out there from professionals who have tread these paths before. I wouldn't say that I'd write like any of them, but I believe the signposts they've left behind are useful for helping me find my way.

slcard said...

HELLO, ULYSSES! SORRY FOR ALL THE CAPS, BUT I'M SHOUTING IN FROM THE UNKNOWN WILDS. YES, I'M SURE IT WOULDN'T WORK FOR YOU. YOU ARE MUCH MORE SENSIBLE THAN I AM. BUT I'M HAVING A BLOODY GOOD TIME OUT HERE (except when I'm not, because sometimes I'm not) BEATING THROUGH THE BRUSH. SOME OF US ARE JUST DIFFICULT THAT WAY. I JUST MEANT TO CHECK IN TO ADMIT THAT I HAD NOTHING TO OFFER. IF, HOWEVER, I REACH ANYWHERE INTERESTING, I'LL PUT UP A SIGNPOST FOR YOU. MUST RUN. (Damn, is that quicksand?) OKAY, I WON'T BE RUNNING, BUT I'D STILL BETTER GO. SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE.... (Bugger! I forgot to mention the grilled cheese sandwiches and poutine available at our Chinese restaurants....)

Ulysses said...

Ha!
I didn't know they had Chinese Restaurants in the wilderness! (Awfully convenient, even if you are hungry an hour later).

Grilled cheese sandwiches and poutine in a Chinese Restaurant?

The world is a very strange place.