Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Great Book That Should be in Every Writer's Library

Lawrence Block
When I transitioned from writing non-fiction to novels, I probably read a dozen books on writing fiction. Now, every three months or so, I pick up a book on writing to remind myself about the basics or to pick up an advanced tip or two. I breeze through most of these books because they are pedestrian rehashes of the same basic advice.

Spider, Spin me a Web by Lawrence Block breaks from the pack. Originally written in 1988, it is not only filled with solid advice, it's fun to read. The book is actually a series of magazine articles by Block, which means the narrative is not straight-line, how-to instructions. Nonetheless, the organization, deft editing, and lively writing make it more cohesive than most books of this sort.

Spider, Spin me a Web appeals to me because it is filled with truth and treats me like an adult when it address basic issues. The comments on the publishing industry are out-of-date, but this is a small part of the book. Spider, Spin me a Web talks mostly about the writing craft, and the advice is timeless.