1. Worlds of Wonder How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy David Gerrold. Writer’s Digest Books 2001. This book is packed full of advice. David Gerrold imparts how when he was starting out writing, his college professor told him he was no good and to stop wasting his time, he’d never be a writer. Those words sent him on his writing path to Hugo and Nebula awards. I think we can all identify with something like this. In my case, it was my ex who told me I’d never amount to anything and blahblahblah never be a writer. When the marriage ended, those words spurred me to go back to writing. I’m determined to prevail this time around. I love how the author says “all writing is list-making. Nothing more. The trick is to know what to put next on the list.” I think we can all learn a lesson from this. You start from the outside, move in closer, closer still till you get into the character’s head. Not that you want to spend fifty pages describing your setting, no. Just do things shot by shot helps get everything important down on the page. Revision can then tighten things up. There is practical advice on tense, dialogue, etc. as well as just lessons learned by David Gerrold from love scenes to structure.
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince J.K. Rowling Arthur A. Levine Books 2005. I was so shocked and saddened by this book. Everything I thought that was going to happen, ended up being wrong. Not that I didn’t LOVE it!! Not all the events, but wow, this one really hit big with the world-building. It’s made me see a flaw in my wip as well, so that’s a big eye-opener. Particularly with choosing one enemy, even though there may be lesser enemies to confront along the way, the one biggie that’s superior to all and must be battled in order for the hero to triumph and pull out a hopefully winning goal. I’ve already placed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on hold. This one is about Harry finding out who he’s facing and what that means to him. A LOT of surprises, a lot of tears. Still, I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. Again, I highly recommend these books as a study of the hero’s journey and overcoming the odds.