We’re kicking off our 2019/20 season with a discussion on the resources we’ve found helpful to improve our writing. To get us in the mood for September’s meeting, Sutton Writers member Chris Hawton gives us a glimpse into his inspirations.
There’s been a fair few resources over the years that I’ve found helpful with writing; some entertaining in their own rights.
In early 2019, in the podcast talk I co-presented at Sutton Writers, I told the audience about Writing Excuses. This is a long-running free podcast that each year chooses a different theme. They cover everything from character development through to how to approach agents. Basically, think of it as a free writing course. While the presenters write science fiction and fantasy for the most part, their lessons can be applicable to all sorts of writing. For example, they have recently had a miniseries about writing the other (i.e. characters of differing backgrounds to yourself) and pitfalls you can fall into. One of the hosts, Mary Robinette Kowal, won the 2019 Hugo for her latest novel – this is described by many as science fiction’s equivalent of the Oscars so you can rightly infer from that that her and her colleagues know their stuff. You should also read her award-winning novel, The Calculating Stars – I’m about 20% through it and am loving this depiction of an alternative universe 50s America
Moving to a printed resource, I can thoroughly reckoned Sebastian Faulks’ Faulks On Fiction. This is an examination of the British novel by focussing on numerous famous literary characters. These range from Winston Smith and Mr Darcy through to Lady Chatterly and James Bond.
Each chapter concerns a specific character, looking at what he feels works as well as any flaws he may see. Additionally he shares his views on not only the author’s style but also the evolution of the novel as a whole as well as any cultural influences. It is a fascinating read and, like with all good critical writing, you don’t need to have read the works concerned to learn something.
I would also give an honourable mention to Peter David’s Writing For Comics & Graphic Novels. While this may seem a bit niche from the title, this acclaimed comics writer has many useful points about story construction that he imparts in a very approachable manner.
Which resources, written or otherwise, would you recommend to fellow writers? Have a think and bring them to our meeting on 10 September at the Robin Hood Community Hall, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your inspirations with your fellow members. Remember to RSVP via Meetup.com.