Writing Craft Book Shelf

craft_booksRecently, in a fit of office organizing, I bought some lovely new shelves for my growing collection of writing books. (Thank you, Ikea!) I love these books. When I get stuck on a writing project, I thumb through and read a chapter here and there and sometimes get inspired – or at least feel like I’m doing something productive.

However, as I was putting them away I realized that there’s a lot these books have to offer that I haven’t taken advantage of by simply thumbing through and reading a little at a time. Even the ones I’ve read cover-to-cover, like WRITING WITH PICTURES, would probably hold different insights for me now than when I first read them. And so I pledge…in 2013, I will commit to reading and re-reading some of these craft books in a focused way. I will do the recommended exercises. I will seek out the books cited as examples at the library and read them.

At this point, my path is not well-planned but here’s what I envision for myself:

– I’ll start with WRITING PICTURE BOOKS by Ann Whitford Paul.

– Allow enough time to do any recommended exercises.

– I plan to start well after New Year’s (to allow for post-holiday recovery) and do a check-in post here on my blog every 2-3 weeks.

– I would love to have a partner (or two) to do this with me, and so I beg ask if anyone would like to join me in this little scheme? Let me know!

I’d also love to hear about your favorite craft books. Which ones have you found helpful?

15 thoughts on “Writing Craft Book Shelf

  1. Tina M Cho says:

    Way to go, Carrie! That’s a wonderful New Year’s goal! I received Cheryl Klein’s “Second Sight” from a writing friend, and so I hope to read it during Christmas break. I read Ann Whitford Paul’s book twice through. It’s so great, and I refer to it a lot.

    • Carrie Finison says:

      I think that’s a great idea, Laura. My kids are still of picture book age, so I’m reading at least one a day with them, usually more. But one thing I wanted to do next year is actually go to the library and find the books that Ann Whitford Paul mentions in WRITING WITH PICTURES. The first time I read her book, I was reading it at night before bed and so I didn’t really do the exercises or pursue reading the example picture books she mentions. This time around I want to try to find some of her recommendations.

  2. Yvonne Mes says:

    I’m halfway through reading it at the moment, but had put it aside to focus on some other books, I am going back to it again (it’s sitting next to me now waiting patiently). And as my writing is changing, I feel ready to read the first few chapters again. I am looking forward to your check-ins!

    • Carrie Finison says:

      Thanks, Yvonne! That’s so true — I find that I get different things out of reading craft books at different times, both as my writing progresses, and depending on where I am with a particular manuscript.

  3. bjlee says:

    Yes, I think doing the exercises is key. I started Anne Whitford’s book several times but realized I would have to make time to actually go to the library or book store and read the books she recommends. Hopefully, I’ll be able to join you in January Carrie. It would be fun to do it together.

    • Carrie Finison says:

      I was thinking I would post a bibliography for each chapter so that it would be easy to find/request the books from the library as we go. My copy of the book mentions a bibliography, but there isn’t one in the back of the book. It seems like a strange omission!

  4. Cecilia Reid Driscoll says:

    My favorite craft books: Poemcrazy, Freeing Your Life with Words, by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland. Am currently reading Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words by Kim Rosen. It may be my new favorite book!

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