One of the chapters in Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers suggests that a writer limit her- or himself to no more than six guides. (A guide is either a how-to book on the craft of writing, or a book in the genre of the one you’re writing.)

I have chosen the following three wise guides on the craft of writing:

  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue by Gloria Kempton (Writer’s Digest Books)
  • Word Painting: A guide to writing more descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan (Writer’s Digest Books)
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a powerful story one scene at a time by Jordan E. Rosenfeld (Writer’s Digest Books)

I know my first drafts are a bit thin on description which is why I’m using Word Painting.

I also want to make my scenes work as hard as they possibly can in terms of pacing, setting, how the scene unfolds, what to include in it so that a reader isn’t overwhelmed by too much action (or not enough). Ditto for emotion, information revealed, tension and all the other elements that go into making up a scene.

Dialogue is action. I want to write it as well as I can so that a reader is amused, enthralled, excited, or angst-ridden in all the right places.

I chose these three particular facets of the writing craft because I know that I either need to develop my skills in these areas or they’re elements I particularly enjoy.

Working through Holly Lisle’s One Pass Revision technique (part of her How to Think Sideways course, but there’s also an article about it on her website in the For Writers section) has uncovered another aspect I’m enjoying while I work on this revision of When Worlds Collide.

I have a revision notebook and I find I’m using it as a sort of journal. I write down my thoughts about the scene I’ll work on next and also my thoughts on what I’ve read in the three wise guides and how I can use what I’ve learned in my next writing session. I’m finding that it’s a great way to prepare myself, get my muse involved, and come up with details and plot points that add depth, and make my scenes work harder.

I’m working on putting together the second three guides to make up the six Sellers recommends. When I’ve found them, I’ll post the list up.

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