The Planning Process: Stories and Style
As I mentioned in my previous post, Developing Characters, Part I: Character Sketches, I use a three-act structure to outline my novels. I also mentioned in that post that I’m not a pantser.
As part of the planning, I’ve read several books on the writing.
Writers read. They read fiction. They read nonfiction. They read about the craft.
Reading how to write is planning. It’s also learning from other writers. Too often people think they can just sit down and write: “Like, hey man, it’s art.”
Yes, it’s art, but it’s also a process, a science.
Even art has rules.
And, to cut to the chase, let’s just say, “Yeah, yeah, follow the rules now. Break them later.” However, always feel wary as you’re breaking those rules and question why you’re breaking them and if you really need to break them. If you don’t feel right about breaking a rule, then don’t. Find a better way. I attribute this to an author developing personal style.
I’m going to end this post with a list of books I’ve read on writing. In the picture attached to this post, there’s a few that aren’t listed here. Either I haven’t read those yet but intend to, or they’re just books writers should own.
Here’s that list in no particular order:
- The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne
- The Screenwriters Bible by David Trotter
- Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff
- Alone With All That Could Happen by David Jauss
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee
- Thrill Me by Benjamin Percy
- The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
- The Truth About Fiction by Steven Schoen
- Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro
- How Fiction Works by James Wood
- Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- How to Grow a Novel by Sol Stein
- Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
- The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell