I just got “Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot” by Peter Dunne. Wow, it’s the best book on writing I’ve ever seen.
It would have helped me understand what I was struggling to do unconsciously in “Heart in the Right Place.” It would be a lot quicker and easier to structure a book right when you understand what you are doing ahead of time!
The book is deep, too. It talks about wisdom and moral development of human beings. That’s the most important thing to me, not just a list of ten quick and easy tricks for writing a story.
The good news is the guy who wrote this book is both a great guy and commercially successful. It’s a super mix for an author of a how-to book.
I’ve been listening to a set of audio CDs compiled from Terry Gross’ interviews with writers on her NPR show Fresh Air. The insights contained therein are REALLY great. I ordered it from NPR’s online store.
Stephen King’s book “On Writing” is the second best book I’ve come across. It is wonderful, expecially for understanding the magnitude of motivation some people have (see also the film 8 Mile to observe the same principle in action).
Secrets of Songwriting by Susan Tucker — this is the way I wrote Heart in the Right Place — like a country music songwriter.
It was a huge relief to find that I belonged to an honorable school of writing. Until I read this book, I’d been embarrassed about my redneck writing style.
I’d hear snippets of conversation and jot them down on napkins from fast food drive-thrus (this is actually true).
Nearly the entire book was at one time scribbled on McDonalds, Hardees, KFC, Sonic, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Krystal, and Burger King napkins.