By Rebekah Postupak
In June, the Vancouver Willamette Writers chapter met online to share favorite writing books, conference tips, and goals for the summer. We’ve compiled those terrific ideas to share with the rest of Willamette Writers. Some of these books and ideas are likely very familiar to you, but we hope you find a new nugget to inspire your writing life.
The Best Writing Advice!
- Jan: “Don’tfight what you write.”
- Tiffany: “Write your heart before listening to others’ opinions.”
- Bob: “1. Don’t lose the reader. 2. Don’t bore the reader. 3. Don’t forget Rules 1 and 2.”
- Carole: “Get your butt in your chair!”
The Best Writing Craft Books!
- Atlas of the Heart, Brene Brown (understanding characters who aren’t me)
- Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence, William Kenower
- Fierce on the Page: Become the Writer You Were Meant to Be and Succeed on Your Own Terms, Sage Cohen (local writer)
- How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, Janet Evanovich
- On Writing, Stephen King
- The Paris Review (any current issue)
- A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver
- Save the Cat: The Last Book on ScreenwritingYou’ll Ever Need, Blake Snyder
- Free Save the Cat novel beat sheets: https://jamigold.com/for-writers/worksheets-for-writers/
- Self-editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print, Renni Browne & Dave King
- Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies, Sol Stein (esp the chapter on show, don’t tell)
- Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three YearsWriting 327 Pages That Go Nowhere), Lisa Cron
- Tarot For Romeo and Juliet: Reflections on Relationships, Camelia Elias
- Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer
- WordsAre My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, Ursula K. Le Guin
- The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House
- Writing the Other, Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward
- You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), Jeff Goins
The Best Writing Conference Advice!
- Carrie: sit at different tables and sit in places with different people. You’ll gain great knowledge from others. Always move your cheese!
- Jan: don’t walk the same direction as everyone else—go the other way and see what happens. Look at the conference with a writer’s eyes!
- Nancy-Lou: some conferences (like AWP) offer fascinating panels I would never have otherwise gone to. Panels broaden your horizons.
- Kate: easiest opening question is: “what have you been working on?” Second easiest question: “what do you wish you were working on?”
- Jeanne: Masterclasses are DEFINITELY worth the money!
Most of the advice is simple, but it’s not easy. We truly appreciate being able to share our goals and struggles with our writing community. It eases the often arduous journey of the writer’s life. We hope you have found something helpful, and we look forward to seeing you, online or in-person, at the conference in August!
Photo Credit: Russell J Young