in association with Amazon.com

Now you can order books directly through the @WRITERS Website, in association with Amazon.com. Our book list currently highlights recommended writing related books, but will soon expand to include non-writing related books as well. We welcome your suggestions!

Here's how it works:
For every book you order through our Website, @WRITERS receives a small referral fee. This income will help keep the @WRITERS list, newsletter and Website going, while keeping it FREE for you - our members and prospective subscribers. Below you will find a selection of books recommended by the @WRITERS staff, including those reviewed by our book reviewer, Madeline Mora.

By clicking on the ORDER buttons below, you will be taken directly to the Amazon.com site, where you will 'add your book to the shopping cart'. Nothing is confirmed until you have filled in your credit card number. Feel free to browse the extensive Amazon.com website, but be sure to come back to the @WRITERS site for our book recommendations and order through us! Thanks for your support :)

Our Current Selection

Bird by Bird
by Anne Lamott
List Price: $12.95
Your Price: $10.36 (Save 20%)

@WRITERS columnist Madeline Mora's review:
If Anne Lamott's writing classes are as sharp and funny as this book, then save me a seat! In BIRD BY BIRD-SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE (Pantheon Books 1994 $21.00 Hardcover), Lamott foregoes the formal steps and structure of writing and publication. Instead, armed only with her wit, humor and experience, she delves deep into the even scarier world of a writer's soul.

In the beginning of BIRD BY BIRD, Lamott talks about how ... writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around" (xii) and how "...good writing is about telling the truth" (3). 'She stresses the importance of getting it all down first and worrying about how good it is later.

There are a number of sections in this book that will definitely get the creative juices churning. One, in particular, titled "School Lunches" (33), will not only make you laugh but make you remember so many things so vividly that I bet you'll be able to smell those fishtsticks and taste that peanut butter and jelly by the time you're done reading! For the times you get stuck, try out Lamott's advice in "Short Assignments" (16): write as much as you can see through a one inch picture frame - "...one small scene, one memory, one exchange" (18). Also, take a look at "Letter" (171) where she suggests writing part of your history or a character's history to someone as if it was a letter. She also has one of the best descriptions of writer's block: "There are few experiences as depressing as that anxious barren state known as writer's block, where you sit staring at your blank page like a cadaver, feeling your mind congeal, feeling your talent run down your leg and into your sock" (176).

BIRD BY BIRD is fun, plain and simple. Oh, it's educational, too, but you don't even realize you've learned something until you're done laughing and after all, isn't that the true mark of a really good teacher?

Elements of Style
by William Strunk, E.B. White
List Price: $5.95
Your Price: $4.76 (Save 20%)

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
by Natalie Goldberg
List Price: $10.00 Your Price: $8.00 (Save 20%)

The secret of creativity, Natalie Goldberg makes clear, is to subtract rules for writing, not add them. Proof that she knows what she is talking about is abundant in the speed, grace, accuracy, and simplicity of her own sentences. Writing Down the Bones is "simply the best aid and comfort around today."--Judith Guest, author of Ordinary People.

Reader Review:
Into the Void and Out With Ideas Follow the advice that Ms Goldberg gives and let yourself become one with the page. There is no paper, no hand, no pen, no block. There is the void, the silence, and the act of creation and when you stop, there is your novel, complete and perfect before you on the page. Well, alright, perhaps not perfect but this marriage of Zen and common sense, beautifully written and blazingly clear, is a wonderful manual for any writer.Indeed for anyone that takes a moment to look at the world around them, anyone who does more than simply move unthinkingly through their life like a robot, this book is a rare delight. Once read thoroughly, it can be used randomly as an antidote to writer’s block. Open almost any page and begin reading to feel the log jam in your cortex start to shift and jostle. Your fingers flex, your eye sparkles. The words tumble over themselves as ideas outpace your hand and your writing becomes a hellish scrawl. Buy a computer and take a speed typing course. My thanks to Ms Goldberg for a truly inspirational book.

Becoming a Writer
by Dorothea Thompson
List Price: $9.95
Your Price: $7.96 (Save 20%)

AMAZON.COM 'Recommended Book' Review
Even in 1934, Dorothea Brande knew that most writers didn't need another book on "technique" -- and this, before so many more would be published. No, she realized, as John Gardner notes in his foreword, "the root problems of the writer are personality problems," and thus her wise book is designed to simply help you get over yourself and start writing, with techniques ranging from a simple declaration to write every day at a fixed time -- no matter what -- to exercises that come close to inventing the TM and self-actualization movements that would follow a few decades later.

350 Fabulous Writing Prompts: Thought-Provoking Springboards for Creative, Expository, and Journal Writing
by Jacqueline Sweeney, Stephanie Peterson (Illustrator)
List Price: $8.95
Your Price: $7.16 (Save 20%)

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends (The Elements of Fiction Writing)
by Nancy Kress
List Price: $14.99
Your Price: $10.49 (Save 30%)

Building Fiction: How to Develop Plot & Structure
by Jesse Lee Kercheval
List Price: $16.99
Your Price: $13.59 (Save 20%)

No one looks at structure like Jesse Lee Kercheval. She builds a work of fiction just as an architect would design a house - with an eye for details and how all the parts of a story or novel interconnect. Even with the most dynamic language, images and characters, no piece of fiction will work without a strong infrastructure. Kercheval shows how to build that structure using tools such as point of view, characterization, pacing and flashbacks. The designs of Frank Lloyd Wright were always influenced by the terrain, says Kercheval. The building site helped him determine the materials and methods of construction. This book will help you envision the landscape of your fiction and build great stories there.

Table of Contents
1. Sources for Fiction
2. Openings in Fiction
3. Third-Person Point of View
4. First- and Second-Person Points of View
5. Constructing Characters
6. Conflict in Fiction
7. Continuing Conflict
8. Endings in Fiction
9. Revision
10. Novel vs. Short Story
11. Short Shorts, Novellas, Novels-in-Stories
12. Experimental Fiction

The Complete Guide to Writing Fiction
by Barnaby Conrad
List Price: $19.99 Your Price: $13.99 (Save 30%)

A complete and concise guide to writing and selling long and short fiction, including outlining, narrative writing, details, description, pacing, and action.

AMAZON.COM 'Recommended Book' Review
Although the venerable Santa Barbara Writers' Conference, held in June, covers almost all aspects of words colliding together--from travel writing to poetry to film scripting--this volume focuses solely on the fiction aspects of the confab. Addresses given by various keynoters over the years, from Eudora Welty to Harlan Ellison, Tom McGuane to James Michener, cover all aspects of modern tale-spinning. Lively reading, all pointing to the advice given by Ellison: "The trick is not becoming a writer folks, the trick is staying a writer." Perhaps this volume will make that stay a little easier.

Creating Characters: How to Build Story People
by Dwight V. Swain
List Price: $14.99
Your Price: $11.99 (Save 20%)

How to Write & Sell Your First Novel
by Oscar Collier, Frances Spatz Leighton
List Price: $16.99
Your Price: $13.59 (Save 20%)

Newly revised and updated, this guide reveals the keys to writing and publishing a successful novel in today's complicated market. Collier and Leighton combine their years of publishing experience with the success strategies of 22 accomplished authors.

Table of Contents
1. The Heart of It
2. Mainstream? Crime? Literary? Science Fiction? What Kind of Novel Do You Want to Write?
3. Do I Start With the Characters or the Plot?
4. Four Steps Are All It Takes
5. Profanity, Sex Scenes and Other Puzzlers
6. Gearing Up and Writing It
7. Editing Your Manuscript
8. Selling and Contracts and Money, Oh My!
9. The Publishers and Editors
10. They Weren't Always Superstars: How Six Famous Novelists Got Started
11. Writing About What You Know
12. Collaborating With an Expert
13. Genre Novelists
14. From Businessman to Novelist
15. Chasing a $50,000 Advance
16. Conversations With Five New Novelists
17. Final Checklist: Seven Do's and Seven Don'ts for First Novelists
Further Reading and References

Writing from the Heart: Inspiration and Exercises for Women Who Want to Write
by Leslea Newman
List Price: $14.95
Your Price: $11.96 (Save 20%)

Writing the Blockbuster Novel
by Albert Zuckerman
List Price: $18.99
Your Price: $13.29 (Save 30%)

Ken Follett and Eileen Goudge, among others, have something in common: They have mastered the craft of building the compelling novels that appear on best-seller lists around the world. And here Albert Zuckerman, agent and editorial advisor to many successful authors in every genre, discloses the somewhat hidden nuts and bolts of what makes this type of book tick, and shows how you, too, could write a novel that might sell in the millions. Zuckerman covers every aspect of writing the blockbuster novel (or the "big novel," as it's called in the publishing world), including defining it. You'll learn how to develop and use an outline; the value of setting your novel in an exotic or unique world; how to choose and build your characters; to control point of view and use it as a technique for developing reader empathy; how to knit together the relationships between characters; the importance of confrontational scenes, and how to sustain them; how to build scenes while setting up suspense and maintaining current action; to weave plot strands in order to build maximal climaxes; to develop and use rhythm in your plotting; and what a story point is and how to make sure each chapter includes at least one. All of this is illustrated through numerous examples of current - and timeless - popular fiction, including the works of Ken Follett, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, Mario Puzo's The Godfather and others. If you aspire to write a big novel, then this book will be invaluable to you. Read it. Learn from it. And who knows? It could be your name on the best-seller's list.

Table of Contents
By Ken Follett
1. Getting Started
2. The Big Book: What is It?
3. Setting Your Novel
4. The Outline Process
5. Larger-Than-Life Characters
6. Point of View
7. Tightening Character Relationships
8. Setting Up Scenes
9. Big Scenes
10. Weaving Plot Strands
11. Rhythm in Plotting
12. Story Points
13. Revision
14. Getting it Published and onto the Best-Seller Lists

The Writer's Digest Handbook of Novel Writing
List Price: $18.99 Your Price: $18.99

In essays drawn primarily from Writer's digest magazine, noted novelists, leading editors, and teachers address the specifics of novel writing--from how to create dialogue to how to negotiate a contract with a publisher.

Writing to Sell
by Scott Meredith
List Price: $17.99
Your Price: $12.59 (Save 30%)

With this guide, writers can learn how to create good fiction and publish profitably, guided by the timeless advice of the man who built the legendary literary agency that still bears his name. Includes information on creating characters, plotting a novel, formatting the manuscript, deciphering a publishing contract, and more.

Table of Contents
By Barry N. Malzberg
By Arthur C. Clarke
1. You, Writer: Your Place in the Writing Business
2. Off on the Right Foot: Getting to Know the Market
3. The Current Situation: What Editors Buy
4. The Inside Story: Behind Editorial Doors
5. Inspiration, Perspiration, Desperation: Working Habits
6. Your Attractive Merchandise: The Professional-Looking Manuscript
7. Where Do You Get Your Ideas?: Tapping The Reservoir
8. Plots that Sell: How to Build Your Ideas Into Salable Books
9. When is a Novel Not a Novel?: Incident Versus Novel
10. The Big Headache: The Problem
11. Hit Him When He's Down: Complications
12. The Final Sandbag: The Crisis Point
13. And That Did the Trick: The Solution
14. Who Tells It?: Viewpoint
15. What Makes Them Tick?: Motivation
16. But Who'll Believe It?: Plausibility
17. His Thoughts Returned to His Childhood: Flashback
18. Strange Sounds and Smells: Locale
19. Lincoln's Mother's Doctor's Dog: The Title
20. Your Way with Words: Style
21. "And in the Beginning . . .": The Opening
22. Quote, End Quote: Dialogue
23. Over the River and Through the Woods: Transition
24. Stuffing the Hollow Man: Characterization
25. And They Lived Happily Ever After: The Ending
26. The Slice and the Slash: Revision
27. Marketing and Agents: Where to Go with the Completed Script
28. Just Sign Here, Please: Contracts, Rights, and Other Legal Matters
29. Another Horizon: Nonfiction
30. You're on Your Own

Dialogue: A Socrates Dialogue on the Art of Writing Dialogue in Fiction
by Lewis Turco
List Price: $13.99
Your Price: $9.79 (Save 30%)

@WRITERS columnist Madeline Mora's review:
A book about dialogue written in dialogue? Doesn't that sound like a good idea? I thought so, which was why I picked up Lewis Turco's DIALOGUE (Writer's Digest Books 1989 $13.95 Hardcover) and began reading. I was amused for the first chapter or two but then I started to get a headache. I hadn't realized how draining continuous written dialogue could be.

Turco utilizes the Socratic dialogue technique (2) "...in order to discuss the writing of dialogue in fiction while writing a piece of nonfiction fiction in the process!" (2). Whaaaat?! Basically, there is an "Author" and an antagonist, or foil, known as "Fred Foyle". For the next 114 pages, the Author proceeds to teach Fred everything he knows about dialogue, using the entire discussion as an example.

There is no doubt a lot of information is covered in this book. Everything from basic definitions and format to slang and diction can be found throughout the pages. The difficulty for me was extricating the actual topic from its example. Examples are an excellent way to illustrate major points but they can also be used to excess, as they are here. Just ask Fred.

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