I can’t do it.
Yes, I can point out (usually) where a scene begins and ends and I can identify a poorly written one, but I find it difficult to break a scene down into small, easily identifiable parts. And ever since my experiences in school, which was actually damaging to my writing and my confidence, I’m wary of trying to create an outline or a list. Writing a scene isn’t like marking off a list of produce to pick up at the market, or following a cake recipe. “Use 5 paragraphs, well sifted to remove all the adverbs, add a half cup of character development, two tablespoons of plot, and a dash of inspiration. Stir until well-mixed, then pour into the editing pan to be grilled for three hours on high heat.”
Nope, sorry, doesn’t work that way.
This is the fifth and final part of a series of entries discussing various books that deeply influenced my writing and outlook on stories. You can read the Introduction here, Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here. Please note that discussion of these books may contain spoilers.
I thought I’d close out this discussion of influential books with a genre that I don’t usually read: nonfiction. It’s only in the last three years or so that I’ve really started delving into nonfiction; before I just passed it by as something that I don’t dealt with for research, not read for fun. However, I started finding interesting books about internet culture, fandom, introverts, and writing. So, here I am to talk about three nonfiction books that helped influence me as a person as well as a writer.
Image via dailyom.com
This book saved my life. I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that. I was deep in the grip of depression when my onii-san David let me borrow his copy of Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck. I was in pain, confused, and trying desperately to claw my way out of a hole I had only recently realized I was in. I needed to make sense of what was happening to me, why I was so unhappy, and what to do about it. Listening to other people doesn’t help me much because I often find it hard to relate to someone else’s thought processes. But books…a book I can read. A book I can understand and apply to my own life and experiences. And Finding You Own North Star helped me do just that.