Thursday, April 7, 2011

Critique Week Book Recommendation

Most of the recommendations I do here are for YA books that I love, but in keeping with the Critique Week theme, I decided to make today's recommendation something to do with editing.

Writers: do you have a favorite book on writing? Next to my desk I have a shelf of books that are specifically on the craft of writing. These range from Stephen King's On Writing to the wickedly hilarious Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. But the most worn and re-read is The First Five Pages.

For me personally, this book is the most useful of them all for editing and critiquing. In it, literary agent Noah Lukeman address the most common pitfalls of the manuscripts he's seen over the years. Each chapter has both “aha!” moments and “yes, that's exactly how I wanted to put it” moments, so for that reason it's perfect both as a personal tool to use on your own book and as a resource for figuring out how to word a critique.

And one of the wonderful things about the book is that no matter where you are in your writing journey, you can learn from it. My writing has improved a lot since the first time I read The First Five Pages, but I get just as much out of it now as I did then.

But beware! This book also has a tendency to make a writer itch to get back to composition. Often I can only manage a few pages of it before I go racing off to work on my manuscript, inspired to write the very best words I can.

And how about you? Do you have a favorite book on the craft?


  1. Wow, this sounds incredibly useful. I've read a number of books on craft and learned from all of them. I've got Save The Cat in the mail right now, and I'm definitely looking forward to that.

  2. I keep meaning to find and read Save the Cat. I recently got The Writer's Journey, and I've read a little way through that.