Writing how-to recommendation

I'll be getting new carpet and furniture in my office in the fall. So I've decided I need to clean out some of the clutter now rather than have to move all this junk out of the room when the carpet comes.

The first thing I decided to tackle was culling the books in the two tall cases flanking the windows. This is a necessary task though one I don't relish. I hate to get rid of books, but after making three moves in five years, I find it easier. Packing and moving a couple of thousand books will help you learn to "triage" when it comes to giving books away.

However, part of going through my library requires me to look at each book, flip through the pages, recall when I last read it or used it for research. As can be imagined, I often find myself taking the book to a comfy chair and doing a more thorough examination of its contents. Thus, I often end up re-reading the book.

One such book that caught my attention again is The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) by Jack M. Bickham. My copy was signed by Mr. Bickham when I met him in the spring of 1992 at a writer's conference at the University of Houston.

Jack Bickham wrote many novels, some were turned into movies, and several books on the craft of writing. I have all his how-to write books and recommend them all, but this book is a good one to start with because it's a slim volume packed with solid information in an easily understood format. Actually, I've read this book several times because it's a sharp reminder of the mistakes we writers make when we get lazy. There's nothing worse, or more fatal to a career, than becoming a lazy writer.

So I'm reading Jack's book again before placing it back on the shelf. It's a keeper. Always will be.

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