Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Always Learning and Another (Writing) Book

May wildflowers 2018
"I am still learning." --Michelangelo

Yes, I'm still learning, too (although far, far away from the category of a Michelangelo!)--and hope that I never lose the desire to do so. So it is, in the spirit of learning, that I've added yet another book on writing to my shelf: The Story Cure, A Book Doctor's Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir by Dinty W. Moore (Ten Speed Press 2017). I've only just begun digging into it, but already I like Mr. Moore's premise: "A Book Doctor is different from a copyeditor or a proofreader. The task at hand is not to clean up sentences, adjust punctuation, or fix typographical errors. A Book Doctor looks at the patient as a whole--the plot, the main characters, the voice, the structure--or, to continue the physician metaphor, the arms, the legs, the belly, and the heart. The Doctor's job is to diagnose exactly why the patient isn't thriving" (p.2).

And if I were honest, it's the heart of the book I'm now drafting that's suffering. May the doctor help diagnose my problem. In fact, in Chapter One, The Story Cure, one section is subtitled "Discovering (or Rediscovering) the Heart of Your Story." I'll have that part of the book dog-eared, I think.

Maybe your problem is where your story begins. That's addressed in Chapter 2: Your First Breath. Maybe it's voice and point of view. See Chapter 5, A Visit with the Throat and Eye Doctors. Or maybe plot and structure? How about Chapter 6, The Strong Skeleton?

Have I whetted your appetite yet? I think most of the material will be familiar to those who have been writing for a while, but why not review the subject matter from such a fun angle?

And speaking of books on the shelf: today's the day to announce the winners of my give-away for the inspirational book, The Short and Sweet of It, When the Right Word is a Short Word, compiled by Susan Cheeves King--an anthology of inspirational pieces written in one-syllable words. Peggy and Cathy, be on the lookout for your copies! You both commented in the give-away post (here) and I couldn't bring myself to pull just one name out of a list of two, so you are both winners! I'll be in touch by email to verify your addresses.

Yes, may we live motivated to always be open to learning and, for us writers, to be open to improving our craft. The journey of life is far more interesting that way.


  1. THE STORY CURE looks like a really interesting book. Truth be told, I buy too many writing books, end up reading parts of them, but not finishing. I just got one in the mail this morning--MAKE A SCENE: WRITING A POWERFUL STORY ONE SCENE AT A TIME by Jordan Rosenfeld. Our SCBWI group will be having a presentation on that book some time this summer, and I wanted to be ready. So far, it looks like a good one. Let me know how yours turns out.

    Anyone who thinks writing is easy hasn't tried it. There is so much to learn and not nearly enough time to do it. But posts like this one do help. Thanks for calling my attention to THE STORY CURE. I have a LOT of partial manuscripts in need of a cure!

    1. Making note of Rosenfeld's book on scene, Peggy--thank you for a heads up on another book to check out! We'll have to compare notes on the two books :-)

  2. Lovely post. This sounds like a great approach to writing. I'll have to wait, though. I've ordered two books on writing that are waiting for me when we get home from our travels: Both by James Scott Bell. I've seen his name on writing books so much, I figured it was time to check him out — and it's time for me to brush up on writing skills as I plug away on my current WIP. But I will keep this book in mind, too. Thanks for the share.

    1. So we all have something in common--we can't get enough on books about writing :-) Thanks for reminding me about Mr. Bell's books, Elizabeth. Like you, I've never read them but have heard about them and have seen quotes taken from them. Let me know what you think :-) And enjoy the rest of your travels!

  3. Kenda -

    I just received my copy of THE SHORT AND SWEET OF IT and read your beautiful essay GOD, OUR GUIDE. It's so inspiring! (Would love to discuss with you some day the pro's and cons of vocabulary use!)

    Thank you!

    1. Peggy, you are so welcome. Glad you're enjoying the book. You've piqued my interest on a discussion about pros and cons of vocabulary use. Let's get a dialogue going. I'm interested in what's on your mind! Will be in touch by email :-)