I'm currently enjoying Donald Maass' The Fire in Fiction. Might actually do some of the writing exercises in it, as they seem fun.
Interestingly, most are actually editing exercises, e.g. "Choose a section of your manuscript in which two characters are conversing for roughly a page and rewrite it so that one character's responses are entirely nonverbal. Now rewrite it as a shouting match. Now rewrite it with no dialogue tags or actions interspersed. Now rewrite it so that one character is in love with the other, who doesn't reciprocate. Now rewrite it with one character drunk and the other one trying to get to sleep." Etc. (Do not interpret the quotation marks there to mean that I'm actually quoting the book.) (Also, if anyone has a scene in which all of these actually apply, I'd love to read it.)
It strikes me that I have read a lot of books on writing. A lot. Plus many issues of Writer's Digest. Many of my lessons in writing have come, of course, from actual books (and movies, and TV Tropes - note how I'm not linking to it and stealing your whole evening! You're welcome). Still, I do love some books about writing. After a certain point, a lot of their advice gets repetitive. Sometimes, though, you run across a shiny new take on writing advice, and that's always fun. So here are my favorites on the subject:
- The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy: Volume One by Tom Dullemond and Darin Park
- The Fantasy Writer's Companion by Tee Morris and Valerie Griswold-Ford
- How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them: A Misstep-by-Misstep Guide by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman
This selection may or may not be slightly skewed toward my area of writing interest. But hey, having a narrower approach can make a book's tips stand out in a sea of, "Instead of telling, try showing!" and, "Practice moderation in adverbs."
Anyone got any to recommend? And, unrelatedly, anyone else really enjoy Thor? Good times.