Saturday, April 23, 2011

On My Wishlist- Writing Edition (and book swap!)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme from Book Chick City where book bloggers highlight the books they've been pining for.

One of my reading goals this year is to finish at least six writing craft books. If I had a gift certificate to Amazon right now, these are the ones I'd choose.

Title and author: The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke

Why I want it: His name comes up a lot in Christian writing circles. I'd like to see what they're all talking about.

Book blurb:
Artist and Craftsman. As a Christian novelist, you're both. You know the soaring creativity of the Creator and the serious discipline of the artisan. And you feel the impulse to excel in each. So grab a steaming mug of your favorite hot drink and come learn the art and craft of Christian fiction from one of its master teachers.

You'll learn: How to find your story amidst all your ideas, How to bring your characters onstage the first time, How to convert your telling into showing, How to handle profane characters in Christian fiction, How to use the dumb puppet trick, How to write for the (approving) audience of One.

The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction is the complete school of fiction from Jeff Gerke, popular writer's conference teacher, professional book doctor, and Christian novelist. It includes and expands upon his influential Fiction Writing Tip of the Week column at

Title and author: Getting into Character by Brandilyn Collins

Why I want it: Brandilyn's Christian fiction gets rave reviews. I bet she has lots to teach me.

Book blurb:
Proven techniques for creating vivid, believable characters.

Want to bring characters to life on the page as vividly as fine actors do on the stage or screen? Getting into Character will give you a whole new way of thinking about your writing. Drawing on the Method acting theory that theater professionals have used for decades, this in-depth guide explains seven characterization techniques and adapts them for the novelist’s use.

In this unique and practical book, you’ll discover concepts that will help you understand and communicate the behavior, motivation, and psychology of every fictional character you create. Examples from classic and contemporary novels show you how these techniques have been used to dazzling effect by Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Steve Martini, Anne Rivers Siddons, and others. These simple yet highly effective techniques will help you:

Create characters whose distinctive traits become plot components
Determine each character’s specific objectives and motivations
Write natural-sounding dialogue rich in meaning
Endow your characters with three-dimensional emotional lives
Use character to bring action sequences to exuberant life
Write convincingly about any character facing any circumstance

Title and author: From the Inside....Out by Susan May Warren

Why I want it: I lurk over at My Book Therapy where she trains aspiring authors. I'm interested in reading more about what she has to say.

Book blurb:
Have you always wanted to write a novel, but didn't know where to start? This book is for you. With proven techniques, easy to understand explanations and practical steps, From The Inside...Out will teach you how a story is structured then take you through the process of creating and marketing your novel. Topics include: Character-driven plotting, How to HOOK your reader, The elements and flow of SCENES, How to build STORYWORLD, Secrets to Sizzling Dialogue, Proven Self-Editing techniques, Synopsis and Query letter writing, How to manage your writing career ...and everything in between!

Title and author: Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

Why I want it: I've found his Storyfix blog incredibly helpful and his four part story structure really clicks for me.

Book blurb:
From story concept to character development to scene construction and beyond, this blueprint for dynamic storytelling makes putting together a strong novel, memoir, or screenplay easier than ever. Beginning writers in all genres, from fiction writers, to nonfiction writers, to screenplay writers, will learn how to wrap their heads around the big picture of storytelling at a professional level through a new approach that shows how to combine six core competencies: the four elemental competencies of concept, character, theme, and story structure (plot); and the two executional competencies of scene construction and writing voice. You'll discover how to achieve the greatest potential in your story through mastering the way these six factors combine and empower each other on the page.

I have found writing books to be very hit or miss. Have any of you read these? Would you recommend them?

Wanna swap?

Not too long ago, Amber at Seasons of Humility hosted a book swap. People posted their wish lists in the comments section of her blog and offered books they had available for trade. Swappers contacted each other by email.

So I'm going to borrow this idea from her. If you have any writing books you're interested in trading with others, list them in the comments. Be sure to include your email address if it's not in your profile. Maybe we can connect a few writers with the resources they've been looking for.

Trade for keeps or trade to borrow, work that out with your swapper. You're on the honor system. I can't be responsible for swaps that don't work out. But leave me the names of any dead-beats and I'll blog all about 'em (juuuuust kidding...kinda).

Books I have available to trade (click titles for info):


  1. In addition to the titles for trade above, I also have Debra Dixon's Goal Motivation Conflict. That one I'll loan out, but I'll want it back eventually.

  2. I almost bought the one by Brandilyn Collins at the WFTC conference this past Feb. Instead I bought, Stein on Writing by Sol Stein and Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. A friend of mine recommended Thanks, But This Isn't For Us by Jessica Page Morrell. Thanks for posting some others. I hadn't heard of a few of them! :)

  3. I keep seeing books about writing that I'd love to get my hands on, but I have a few that are already on my bookshelf at home that haven't been read . . . yet. lol

  4. I have that I am willing to trade or swap:

    Writing the Christian Romance by Gail Gaymer Martin


    The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benry

    These DO have highlights in them, no notes. You can contact me: caseymh18(@)

    I probably won't be back online today, so if you email me I'll most likely get back with tomorrow.

    Joy....I would really love to read Debra's book, how would you want to work something like that out?


  5. These all sound like really interesting books!

    Great picks :)

    Happy reading


  6. Thanks non swappers for stopping by to say hello (joy waves)...

    Casey, you can definitely borrow the GMC book. I'm emailing you now.

  7. Joy,

    Story Engineering is up on BookSneeze right now I believe, just FYI.

    I do have Inside Out but its signed by my mother-in-law so I'm not ready to trade it. The Jeff Gerke book looks great, too.

  8. Hawaiian history and culture is another interest of mine. So when I saw a review of this book pop up on Twitter, I had to click through and read it. The book sounds good. Come see which book I'm wishing for.

  9. My craft books are dog-eared and written in. I don't think they'd be much good to anyone. But thanks for letting me know about this. I've read some of these great books through my library. Go Mid-Hudson Library System!

  10. @Julia- thanks for the heads up on Story Structure. I'm always forgetting to get over there to see what's available. I grabbed it. I don't love reading writing craft books on my iphone, I can't highlight anything or take notes, but it's better than nothing.

    The Gerke book I have on my wishlist is on sale for $3.99 for Kindle I believe too.

    @Renee Ann- you know my library system (as huge as it is) doesn't have a lot of the writing books I want.

    Meme visitors, I will get around to your blogs tonight. Thanks for the visit.


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