Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Craft books and Genre

So, when I went to the ACFW Conference way back in September, I took lots of notes. One thing that resonated over and over was this: For every 1 writing craft book that you read, you should read 4 more books in the genre that you want to write in. I have diligently been trying to do just that, but time constraints have had me in a gridlock. So far, I have managed to read these books:
1. Craft ebook by Randy Ingermanson called "Writing Fiction for Dummies." This has been my favorite craft book so far. Randy is candid and refreshing with his style of "teaching." A far cry from some boring how-to's that I've forced myself to indulge.
2. Historical Fiction with a hint of Romance by Suri Mitchell called "Love's Pursuit." This book is superbly written although I was a bit confused for the first three chapters as to who was speaking from scene to scene. I loved the message overall, but I am a hopeless romantic and I must say that I am all for happy endings. So if you haven't read this book, it is a must read and I won't give anything away except this, I think it's a Pocahontas story, and a good one. It's not an Amish book as the cover implies, but it is a book about Puritan life, and offers lots of juicy historical bits to sink your teeth into.
3. Historical Romance by Kim Vogel Sawyer called "A Hopeful Heart." Kim is writing so fast that I'm beginning to get behind on her books. I have two more of her books to read since this one came out. But this book was a charming read. It's about a girl who goes to a school of sorts for training to become a Rancher's wife. Written in true Kim Sawyer style, this book is another must read.
4. Contemporary Romance by Kaye Dacus called "Love Remains." Although this one wasn't in my genre, I enjoyed it because I am from Tennessee, and this story was set in Tennessee. Of course it was a romance, so I would have enjoyed it anyways. I really liked how the characters kept God at the center of everything they did.
5. I'm trying to read another book that is just sucking the life out of me. This book I won't name, but it is supposed to be a historical. The main problem with it is that it doesn't compel me to turn the page. I'm only reading it so that I can say that I did. I think it has too much information about things that are not necessary to the story. I've heard that called an "info dump." It's not a must read, but you will have to figure that out if you try to read it yourself.
6. I began reading "Courting Miss Amsel" by Kim Vogel Sawyer yesterday, and I was really impressed with even the first page.I've learned alot from reading first pages. I've spent hours at the thrift perusing first pages. It's a good exercise. You should try it. Then I have a Francine Rivers book ready to read after that. I've heard raves about it, so I intend to see for myself.
Have I learned from this exercise? You bet. While all of these authors are good in their own rights, they are still individual authors with individual voices, and individual styles. You have to stay true to your own writing, and let it flow, all the while learning from others.
I'm getting closer to finishing my manuscript. My goal was to finish by the end of January. That has now turned into Feb. as I have hit upon a twist and a loophole in my plot. (a good one) So I am now trying to work it in. I think it will make my story stronger and better. Back to the next installment of my WIP!

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