I’ve just finished reading the autobiography of Anthony Trollope. It’s a delightful memoir told by a man who may have written and published more lines of English prose than anyone before him. It’s instructive in equal parts on the economics of writing in the 19th century (which probably haven’t changed all that much), and the craft of writing itself. I recommend it–it’s a free ebook on Amazon.
When I’m between books (Lucifer’s Promise is now with the publisher and The Nun’s Dowry Is still being (endlessly) revised), I often go back and re-read books about writing, an exercise that refreshes me and reminds me what I’m trying to do. When I first started writing fiction, I read both of John Gardner’s books, The Art of Fiction and On Becoming A Novelist. Both are a little dense, in the sense of a thick or closely packed structure, but worth the while of anyone who wants to write prose fiction. Fiction Writer’s Handbook by Hallie and Whit Burnett (preface by Norman Mailer and epilogue by J.D. Salinger) is easier to digest. Continue reading