The author blog of C. J. Ivory

Tinkerer with words. Dresser-Upper. Adorer of Steampunk and VictoriaNoir fiction. Occasional Lawgineer.

September 30, 2011

Quite Possibly The Best Writing Resource, Ever (Part One)

I'll admit it: I'm sort of stingy when it comes to buying stuff.

My theory is that I'm suffering from post-traumatic stinginess due to the horrors of several years as an impoverished student (I prefer this theory to the one which suggests that stinginess is just my inherent character flaw).

Whatever the root cause, for a long time I have tended to borrow books from the library, read them and then, if they are particularly good, buy them. As William Gerhardie said, "If a book is worth reading at all, it is worth reading more than once." In my opinion this is especially the case with expensive non-fiction books, which can be amazing resources if they're well written, and not much more than a paperweight if they're not.

The point is, today I'm doing a shout out for a book that's been on my shelf for some years. I first got it out from the library and was so impressed that I ordered it from my local bookstore within days. I consider it a truly valuable writer's resource. It's called Make A Scene: Crafting A Powerful Story One Scene At A Time, and is written by author/editor/writing coach Jordan Rosenfeld.

The book has pride of place in my resource shelf, between such heavy hitters as Strunk & White, and Stephen King's On Writing

Rosenfeld works on the premise that each scene should be perfectly crafted in its own right, with all the necessary elements to absorb a reader into the story. Of course, each scene should also lead the reader gently through to the next, and serve its purpose in terms of pace, story telling and tension.

Why is the book so great? Well, in my opinion, its structured approach makes the book helpful and user-friendly. Rosenfeld break the book into four parts:
  1. Architecture of a Scene (where she describes scenes as having their own beginning, middle and ends, and what purpose each part serves)
  2. The Core Elements and the Scene (Setting, Senses, Dramatic Tension, and so on)
  3. Scene Types (where she dissects everything from Dialogue Scenes to Climactic Scenes)
  4. Other Scene Considerations (Multiple Points of View, the Protag's Emotional thread, Scene Transitions)
All in all, I've found this book to be the most helpful resource in my writing journey (amidst some tough competition). Kudos to you, Ms Rosenfeld!

You will have noticed that this blog post title is appended with "Part One." I'll be canvassing writer friends about their own "Quite Possibly The Best Writing Resource, Ever," and will bring you the results shortly. Meanwhile, Gentle Reader, if you have a writing resource that's begging for a mention, I'd love to hear about it!

~ Charlotte

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Anonymous said...

I've seen this book in the library - need to get it out sometime.

Trisha said...

This is high praise indeed from a stingy lady like yourself! hehe. Thanks for the recommendation Charlotte!

Dana said...

I'm like you. I get almost all of my books from the library, then buy them only if I really, really loved them. The book you mentioned sounds like a great one to own. Thanks for the tip!

Charlotte Jane Ivory said...

@ Anonymous: I highly recommend it, though if you want to buy it you probably wont find it in the shops ("Amazon to the rescue," she cried.)
@ Trisha: Best budgeting advice I ever heard- be careful with your money, abundant with your praise :)
@ Dana: Ah, a gal after my own heart! Someone has to keep the libraries in business, after all!

Trisha said...

I work in a library...does that count?? hehe. I really need to borrow from my own library more though. Then again, it's an Academic library, so kind of 'in need' anyway.

I actually stopped by to let you know I gave you an award:

But also to mention that I haven't forgotten you tagged me with that meme, and it's on my to-do list!

Trisha said...

I finally did that Twitter tag thing you tagged me with. I don't even know if I put it on Twitter correctly, but the questions are up on my blog anyway ;)