Craft Cheese

Helloooo lovely peeps! If you’re tagged below, it’s because you expressed interest in a writing craft focused book club. The plan is for the group to vote for one of the books below, and then decide on a reading and discussion schedule. I think that schedule will depend in large part on which book is chosen, so picking a book is our first order of business (oooo, so official…).

Full disclosure, this book club does require people to spend some money on a craft book. There are a ton of excellent options to choose from, but I’ve narrowed it down to three I’ve seen mentioned repeatedly in different threads. We can keep this book club going for as long as people are interested and read several different books if we’d like, so if your top choice isn’t the first pick, we still might get around to reading it at some point!

Also, somebody come up with a name for this thread. If you leave it up to me I’m going to call it Craft Cheese. GET IT? No seriously, the titles of my books are all things like “Draft 7.5Gahddammit”, so if you’ve got a name to pitch, throw it out there!

Tag List: @saintc @LuliWrites @ccstarfield @billytypes @solorzanowriter @Loutka @thatCalamity @floranocturna @LadyofthePond @Groovy_Jedi @CeeMTaylor @MaskedParkers @indigosa @houseofmirrors @Van_Carley @SmokeAndOranges @DumDumPops4 @_raepercy @KR_Williams

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Book Options: Please check out the descriptions for the different craft books below and vote for whichever one you’re most interested in reading together!

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel (Jessica Brody):

Summary

Save the Cat! is originally a screenwriting book, but there’s a whole series of different books based on the original screenwriting beats, and Brody’s is geared specifically toward novels. This book is primarily about story structure. It walks us through 15 major story beats that you can spot in pretty much any book or movie, and then dives into 10 different “genres” of story (it defines different genres within storytelling, as opposed to the typical genres used for marketing, which is interesting). It includes tons of examples from published books and checklists for applying different beats within your story at the end of each section. Brody stresses that it’s not an outline or a formula, but a way of thinking through the common patterns and elements that make up a great story, and can be applicable for plotters and pantsers alike. Cost is about $11 on Amazon, $16 at a bookstore.

On Writing (Stephen King):

Summary

This one is part memoir, part writing advice book. Stephen King is an extremely talented, prolific, and famous trad published author ( Carrie, The Shining, It, The Stand , a million others…) who writes primarily in the thriller/horror genres. On Writing walks us through his experience as a writer, his process, and some of his advice for aspiring writers. It’s less of a concrete, strategy toolbox than the other two books we’re considering, but it still contains clear strategies, processes and priorities. King focuses on the fundamentals, what he considers the basics of storytelling and writing. Plus, he’s a funny dude with strong opinions and it’s an enjoyable read. Cost is about $15 on Amazon, $17 at a bookstore.

The Fire in Fiction (Donald Maass):

Summary

Maass is a long-time literary agent, head of the Donald Maass agency in NYC, and has written a bunch of books on writing drawing on his experience working with aspiring and successful authors. The Fire in Fiction is chock-full of strategies and examples of the writing techniques Maass believes separate a good book from a great one. He focuses more on how to put characters in the driver’s seat for a story, more on scene construction than overall story structure, and on eliciting emotional investment from a reader. He also shares valuable perspective on the most common gaps and errors that lead to rejections from his agency. There are writing exercises and questions for reflecting on/unpacking your process at the end of each chapter. Cost is about $15 on Amazon, $17 at a bookstore.

  • Save the Cat! Writes a Novel
  • On Writing
  • The Fire in Fiction

0 voters

Books on writing craft to check out:

  • Damn Fine Story (Chuck Wendig)
  • The Art of Writing Fiction (Andrew Cowan)
  • If You Want To Write a Novel (Brenda Ueland)
  • How Not to Write a Novel (Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark)
  • The Elements of Style (Strunk and White)
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves (Lynne Truss)
  • How To Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead (Ariel Gore)
  • Adult Learner’s Writing Guide (Chambers)
  • Anatomy of a Story (John Truby)
  • Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott)
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SCHEDULE

Discussions on Sundays!

Jan 12th: INTRO + Ch. 1 Why Do We Care? Creating the Story-Worthy Hero
Jan 19th: Ch. 2, ACT 1 (p. 22-40)
Jan 26th: Ch. 2, ACT 2 (p. 40-64)
Feb 2nd: Ch. 2, ACT 3 (p. 65-74)
Feb 9th: Ch. 3 Not Your Mother’s Genres
Feb 16th: Ch. 4 Whydunit
Feb 23rd: Ch. 5 Rites of Passage
Mar 1st: Ch. 6 Institutionalized
Mar 8th: Ch. 7 Superhero
Mar 15th: Ch. 8 Dude with a Problem
Mar 22nd: Ch. 9 Fool Triumphant
Mar 29th: Ch. 10 Buddy Love
April 5th: Ch. 11 Out of the Bottle
April 12th: Ch. 12 Golden Fleece
April 19th: Ch. 13 Monster in the House
April 26th: Ch. 14 Pitch it to Me!
May 3rd: Ch. 15 Save the Author!

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Craft Cheese seems like a brilliant name for me. All the puns!

I’ll vote in a minute after I’ve looked up the books further, but I’m currently going between Save the Cat and The Fire in Fiction.

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Not a mod but there is a book club section that might be more fitting?

I like it :joy:

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Whoops, the book club section does sound like the right spot for a book club! Lemme see if I can switch it.

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I’M SO STOKED.

I wouldn’t be sad about this.

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Okay I voted for Save the Cat because it’s up next on my list and I’ve read parts of it already, but I also have On Writing on my shelf and The Fire in Fiction also sounds excellent. So I will be happy whatever we choose! Save the Cat might also have the least really… Discussable topics? But story construction could actually have a lot to chew on :thinking:. So ignore me lmao.

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I have a problem because number 1 and number 3 both interest me but your poll will only let me vote once!

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:eyes:

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Yup, gotta pick one! My sense is that Save the Cat! is more big-picture story work, and Fire in Fic is a bit more fine-tuning, if that helps.

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I’ve heard about books 1 and 2, but need to do some research on number 3. In general I’m open to all 3 options and yes, I like the Craft Cheese idea :grin:

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I should probably mention that I like all three options (particularly Save the Cat and Fire in Fic), and, between the final two, more or less just shut my eyes and hit the button, so.

Am easily pleased.

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Is there a way we can suggest craft books? I voted save the cat, only because I’ve already read On writing and haven’t heard of the third yet. (But Maas is a great agency as far as I’m aware)

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I went for Save the Cat in the end, after reading a few reviews, though I’ll also be very happy with any of them.

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This seems a lot more logical than the internet version of eenie-meenie-minie-moe.

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Yes, definitely! I can keep a running list of other craft books for people to check out. And if people enjoy the format of reading together and discussing, it’d be cool to make our way through lots of different resources. There are some awesome Youtube channels about craft as well.

Let me know any titles you’d want to add, and I’ll start the list!

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I’m not always sure of this. Sometimes gauging reviews is like trying to read the weather forecast, but I like to give the illusion of logic to at least a few of my decisions. :rofl:

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Damn Fine Story by Wendig is a really good one about the actual story and keeping reader interest. Also it’s less ‘nuts and bolts’ which is refreshing

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I voted for 3, since it seems to me more specific and geared towards topics I’d be looking for.
But I’ll roll with whatever the majority here chooses :sunglasses:

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