Reading a Writing Book

Sometimes I enjoy reading novels and sometimes I like to write. Sometimes really weird and interesting things have happened in my life or to someone I know and I’ve wished I had the skills and other qualities it takes to write a book. When I read an amazing book I often wish I’d written it.
It’s only been lately that I’ve taken up the notion of writing a book for the experience of it. Actually, I’ve written one accidentally and that’s for another post.
Where to begin? I know about eating the elephant one bite at a time but I don’t know where to start. Organizing and structure in life are not my strength. I can be visionary and see the huge, cosmic picture and also get lost in details but as for any kind of structure that resembles what others consider functional–it’s overwhelming to me and I have to feel my way into it. My intellect balks.
Not being averse to really crappy first efforts (as long as no one is looking) I’ve collected three books on novel writing. The first is Chris Baty’s “No Plot, No Problem” which I used for support in writing that first accidental novel.
The second one, which I’ve recently begun is “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass. I chose it because I buy a LOT of books from Amazon and bless their business-like hearts, they are always showing me recommendations for books that I’d never find any other way. I also look at reviews (with skepticism) because often I am not in agreement with critics, people who don’t like something seem more likely to write reviews than people who think it’s just fine and also because I don’t trust the judgement of many of the reviewers. Something about the reviews of this book made me want to give it a whirl and I ordered a used copy.
The book was published in 2001 and the beginning of it has to do with the changing publishing world, which of course is way different now. The publishing world isn’t what I’m wanting to learn about right now and I’m smart enough to know things have changed anyway so I proceeded on.
I like the book and even though I’m not very far along in it I’m already noticing things differently when I read fiction. (I’m reading “Breaking Dawn” right now. Don’t judge me.)
Reading the chapter about Premise, which I’d never thought about before, I got stuck for a little while on the exercise where the reader is to choose their three favorite novels for consideration. Novels they’ve read over and over and that they can go to the shelf and pick up and put in front of them.
After putting too much energy into the exercise, I told myself to just move on. It isn’t a test and there’s no wrong answer and no one cares.
I chose Deanna Raybourn’s “Silent In The Grave”, Elizabeth Berg’s “The Year of Pleasures” and believe it or not, Bill Bryson’s “A Walk In The Woods”.
It’s not clear to me yet why I really like these books so much but I’m sure that it will dawn on me. I mean what the books have in common that fit the elusive-to-describe criteria of what’s magic for me.

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