Improve Your Writing Skills

I have added a Writing section to the Learn More About… page. I am not an expert novelist: read Masks: A Novella and you will see my blunders. One of my goals is to improve my storytelling skills. Unfortunately, my schedule does not allow me to take the courses I would benefit from. Plan B is to learn from bloggers and books.

Somewhere in my early twenties after reading a series of badly written romance novels (my preferred genre at the time), I thought “If she can get published, why couldn’t I?” This moment marks my first serious attempt at writing a novel. Again, my schedule did not allow me to take any courses. (If you know about the railway industry, you understand. If you don’t, we, railroaders, have a saying “Train time is any time.”)

I bought a book on writing romance novels written by romance novelist. Who better to learn from? I learned about the tools this author used to write her novels: a bullet-style outline, bio sheets, timeline charts, calendars and setting descriptions. What I didn’t learn was how to use all these tools. The second book I read on storytelling was written by a writing teacher. While the subjects were well contained in chapters, the material within the chapters themselves was poorly organized which made it difficult to understand.

Let’s jump to the present. In the past year, I have had difficulty in finding good blog posts and books on writing. I have added some good posts on the subject on the Learn More About… page and here’s a list of books I have found very helpful.

What books have you learned writing from? Do you follow any good writing blogs? I love to hear from you. Leave a comment.


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  1. #1 by Patricia Caviglia on August 22, 2011 - 5:06 PM

    Thanks for contributing to the resources! I also forgot about a great online magazine: Writer’s Digest.

  2. #2 by patriciasands on August 15, 2011 - 3:47 AM

    Great information, thanks! You might want to add this to your list. “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. Every writing workshop I have taken has recommended this book and with good reason. I had to buy a new copy this year since my first one was getting so beaten up from my constant referring to it. (There’s a new 10th anniversary issue.) I had never read any of King’s books as his genre doesn’t appeal to me but after I read this book I became an instant fan of his writing. He states from the outset that he would never presume to tell anyone how to write. All he can do, he says, is tell you how he writes, what works for him, and he invites you to take away from that what you will. I found the book extremely helpful and inspiring. Combine that with some of the excellent books on crafting a story which you mention and write on!

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