Thursday, October 29, 2009

Guest Post: Will These Books Really Help Me Get that Book Deal? by Priscilla Y. Huff

I was writing this spring and listening to NPR’s “All Things Considered,” when I heard a piece by Sarah Pekkanen who credited three, how-to writing books that did indeed help her get her first book contract. Most writers have read numerous writers’ magazines and how-to writing books, but Pekkanen’s piece piqued my interest in that I have been writing a couple of children’s fiction books over the past several months and have found it more difficult than the non-fiction business writing I usually do. Going a completely different direction in my writing career has been a bit daunting, so I ordered the three books Pekkanen recommended:

On Writing, by Stephen King. I read this one first and loved how Stephen King described how he started his writing career. The second half of the book provides his frank comments about what makes a good novel. It was also interesting to me to read how many words a day King recommends a writer should write a day (1,000…six days a week).

Plot & Structure, by James Scott Bell. I like the structure (or not, if you choose) Bell provides you to construct a novel. I made many notes, and am already using his “LOCK system”: “Lead, Objective, Confrontation, and Knock-Out Ending,” and am sure I will keep his book handy to review his tips as I continue to write my fiction books.

Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass. I have not read this book yet, but am looking forward to it as Pekkanen commented about it, “Maass wants me to bring it (conflict) to every page.” When you think about it, conflict is present in some form of our lives on a daily basis, and how we deal with these conflicts are indicative of who we are and how we live our lives. If we want believable characters, then they too will have to overcome (or be overcome) each story’s conflicts.There are many other excellent books, CDs, and web sites that provide writers with information about how to write and be better writers; but I’ll finish reading these three books first. I’ll let you know if their authors’ advice helps land me a book contract, too.

Happy Writing!

Source: “Get That Book Deal: Three Books Tell You How” by Sarah Pekkanen


  1. So glad you enjoyed my NPR piece - and good luck writing!

  2. Sarah,

    I'm honored that you came across my blog! Thanks for commenting and for offering the great info that inspired the post.