Friday, November 04, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Reading for NaNo

Isn't NaNoWriMo  for writing not reading?


Well yes.  But even most WriMos don't write 24/7.

I meant to send for the writing books in September and read them though October as I did the prep work.  But I got on that mythology/fable/fairytale kick and filled up my card which just started to open up a little and will be opening up more and more over the next several weeks as books have to go back.

So last week I started doing searches related to my NaNo project.  Thursday most of the books related to the writing itself came home.  A few still haven't made it in from the outlying branches where they live.  Next week I'm expecting books on bullying, including cyber bullying, and books on RPG and the computer gaming community including players and developers.

There are a couple writing books still making their way to me, one of them specific to writing for YA, but here are the ones I have in hand now:



Make a scene : crafting a powerful story one scene at a time / Jordan E. Rosenfeld.

I have for many years already worked in scenes while writing fiction.  I don't remember how I learned to do that but now it seems as natural as breathing to see my story laid out in my mind like a series of scenes.  Sometimes they are still life, maybe with a line or two of audio associated with them but usually they are like mini-movies.

I am always eager to read the writing how-to books that speak to the scene and this is one I'd not seen before.  Jordan Rosenfeld explains the difference between a variety of scene types and what their purposes are and how to write them well.  I'm excited to read this.
The complete idiot's guide to writing a novel by Thomas F. Monteleone

I always look for The Complete Idot's Guides and the for Dummies books on any topic I'm looking for a good overview of and so when this one popped up in my search I sent for it.  Usually these books are more for browsing in than reading coer to cover.  Especially when the subject is one I'm already so familiar with so that there is lots of review of stuff I already know but I always learn something new and useful when perusing these type books.

The sincerest form : writing fiction by imitation / by Nicholas Delbanco

This one I've had home several times and is one I hope to own one day.  Being a college text and an anthology it is quite expensive new so it won't be soon.

This book will be more useful when I'm beginning the rewrites but I couldn't resist sending for it again when I saw it was on the shelf.  It belongs to the community college collection and is often checked out during semesters.

The writer's journey : mythic structure for writers / by Christopher Vogler.

This is another one I want to own tho I want the newest edition.  I've had this checked out several times in the last three years as well.  Volger is well known in the movie industry as one who can spot a good story concept and tell a good script from a so-so script with near infallibility.  When asked his secret he wrote the first paper--a long memo really--that circulated among industry insiders and made its way into classrooms.  The he expanded it into the first edition that sold to the public and it became a sensation.

The Writer's Journey describes the story as a hero's transformational journey ala Jung and Joseph Campbell.  For certain of my stories that seem to fall naturally into this Heroe's Journey form I actually outline them inside the steps of the Journey as described by Campbell and Volger.

This year's NaNo novel, A Trick of Light, was a natural fit being a YA about winning against bullies and having Role Playing Games a central feature.

I thought I had ordered Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces but I must have forgot so I will be rectifying that.  I used to own it and really miss it.

The Hero's Journey steps according to Volger:


  1. Ordinary World
  2. The Call
  3. Refusal of the Call
  4. Enter Mentor
  5. First Threshold/Guardian
  6. Tests/Allies/Enemies
  7. Approach to the Inmost Cave
  8. Ordeal
  9. The Reward
  10. The Road Back
  11. Resurrection
  12. Return with the Elixer



Awakening the heroes within : twelve archetypes to help us find ourselves and transform our world / Carol S. Pearson

I used to own this one too. And will again someday.  Although it deals with the hero's journey as a self transformation it can easily be translated into the character's journey.  Pearson's discussion of myth and archetype is full of rich insights into why certain stories and certain events in stories resonate so deeply.  We seem to be wired to organize information via a universal set of archetypes.


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