Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Background (Or Setting Goals - Part 2)

For me, writing a novel starts with believing you can.

Obviously there is always that doubting voice inside your head (I like to call him Warren) that questions your ability to do anything, but if you have a few skills and a general level of knowledge, you can always tell that voice, "Look, shut up will ya? I can do this, no wuckers!"

One aspect of this forms the part of Goal number deux: a little bit of background reading.

There are a number of books I would like to read and study before embarking on this wild ride called writing a novel. These books will help fill some of the dark spaces where my skills and knowledge should be. And we need to fill those if we ever want Warren to shut his trap.

The following books are on my reading agenda:
  • On Writing by Stephen King (an account of the life of a writer, what makes a good one and the necessary skills required) - I'm halfway through this one and I have already found some helpful and reassuring tips.
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White (a very concise publication about grammar, punctuation and style. A must for any writer).
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (about punctuation; not completely sold on this one but I'll give it a go).
  • Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets by David Simon (obviously not about punctuation, but a non-fiction account of a year with a Baltimore Homicide unit - good for police procedures, typical characters and interactions and a good read too!)
  • Howdunnit (How Crimes Are Committed and Solved) by John Boertlein (good background knowledge for my novel of choice - crime).
  • Forensic Science For Dummies (not sure of author - apologies) (background knowledge on the forensic science / csi side of things).

After reading these books and taking a few notes, I should have the necessary tools to tackle my first novel. And as a bonus, reading them will contribute to my 14 hours a week. So if I'm feeling tired, down or blue, I'll just pick up a book and read about shotgun wounds to the head to cheer me up.

To summarise: Goal 2 - complete essential reading to improve level of skills and knowledge.

No comments: