We here at What’cha Reading love the holidays (aren’t we wonderful?), so we decided to put together (another) holiday gift guide to help you out with the writers in your life…
But instead of just our suggestions we solicited the opinions of a few of our favorite writers, here’s what the ones that admitted to knowing us had to say!
But first the winners! Two books were mentioned again and again. Not only by the authors we contacted but also by our own staff.
Making Comics by Scott McCloud (and Understanding Comics) – This book is wonderful. I first came across it through a course I took (about understanding comics of course) and was immediately struck by how accessible (and fun) Scott was able to make the history and the technical side of comics. This book is a must have not only for writers but any comic book lover.
And the next book to receive multiple votes on all fronts was,
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – Hailed as a master of the craft Mr. King takes through an autobiographical journey, and along the way gives us as much insight into the actual “doing the thing” as he possibly can. It doesn’t matter what kind of writing you lean toward, this book has invaluable advice.
From the forward; “What follows is an attempt to put down, briefly and simply, how I came to the craft, what I know about it now, and how it’s done. It’s about the day job; it’s about the language.”
One of the best things about both of those books? They’re available for under $20 each. So there’s no reason not to get that aspiring writer both!
And now onto the authors! I’ve included links to their work (or reviews of their work) where possible… There are a ton of suggestions to follow! Enjoy!
First up! Eric Grissom (Creator/Writer of Deadhorse and the upcoming Planet Gigantic from Action Lab) sent a few great ones.
Making Comics by Scott McCloud (Available at Amazon in paperback, library binding, and Kindle Editions): “Understanding Comics” is great too, but I bet if you’re asking people for recommendations that book will already be on your list.”
Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee: (Available at Amazon in hardcover, paperback, audio book , and Kindles editions):
He also included this documentary on the history of film, in his email to us Eric writes,
Not a writing book. Not even a book. But a fascinating, in depth look at film from it’s very beginning to now. Plenty to learn of visual storytelling here. Highly recommend watching the series.
The Story of Film: An Odyssey (Available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Story-Film-An-Odyssey/dp/B008ZDC7M8/ as DVD or Digital Download, or Netflix http://movies.netflix.com/
When we contacted Erica Schultz (writer/creator of M3 and Editor and Consultant for the likes of Neal Adams, Red Stylo Media and Bluewater Press) and asked for her picks she went in a different direction. Instead of recommending books about the craft, she sent books that are great examples of the craft…
“The Alienist” by Caleb Carr: (Available at Amazon in paperback and hardcover, http://www.amazon.com/Alienist-Novel-Lazlo-Kreizler-ebook/dp/B000JMKV9Y/): Erica calls The Alienist “… a wonderfully written story with great historical tidbits.”
She also recommends,
“Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: (Available at Amazon in paperback and hardcover) calling it “a fantastic comedy about the end of the world.”
From the world of comics Erica says everyone should read Ed Brubaker’s Death of Captain America (All three volumes are available for Kindle at Amazon, also check comixology and your local comic shop) and Winter Soldier (again available for Kindle on Amazon, also check comixology and your local comic shop).
Jim Zub (writer of Skullkickers, Pathfinder, and IDW’s Samurai Jack) whose own site (www.jimzub.com) offers invaluable advice on the comic business had a plethora of great suggestions;
Robert McKee’s ‘Story’ is a classic. Sandman Vol. 3 Dream Country includes one of Neil Gaiman’s scripts in the back. it was the first time I’d actually seen a comic writer’s script. It inspired me quite a bit. Peter David’s Comic Writing book (Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David) is pretty solid too.”
Jeremy Whitley (Action Lab Entertainment, writer/creator Princeless) chimed in with;
“The two Scott McCloud books, “Understanding Comics” and “Making Comics” are invaluable. There’s the Marvel Way book. Also I understand Will Eisner’s book is very good. I also hear Bendis is writing a book, but it won’t be out for a while. If you want a good book just about writing in general, Stephen King’s “On Writing” is pretty solid.”
We reached out to Jimmy Palmiotti (Duh, really? Ok, ok All-Star Western, Painkiller Jane, Harley Quinn, and a few dozen more) and he gave us, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King and Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch.
So there you have it. Five authors, a thousand suggestions, and two that rose to the top!