A Preface: Part I
This is awesome, Dylan. Some suggestions:
"The Reader over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose" by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge. Makes a moral case for clarity of expression. Wish I'd read it decades ago.
"Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," by Gay Talese. Gorgeous piece of nonfiction writing.
Anything by Mencken. That guy knew how to write a goddamn sentence.
Someday this will be a tremendously large and useful list, or maybe even a community. And I want to get in early with the first participatory comment and say: The Craft of Research by Booth is an excellent book. Super useful, written in a clear style that isn't too conversational. It is written in a way that an advanced high schooler could understand it, but I'm a decade into my academic career and still use/reference it regularly. I use it to teach an undergraduate research course. Beyond all this, it makes perhaps the best argument for "pure research" I've ever heard--in I think, chapter 3? Of the fifth edition? It outlines the difference between applied and pure research and gives a much needed full-chested celebration of how pure research is the one of the most intellectually rewarding activities any of us can engage in. I talk about it in issue nine of my newsletter: https://charliebecker.substack.com/i/57756334/the-importance-of-audience-and-the-merits-of-pure-research
Off-topic, but I would guess that this is the longest single post on all of Substack as a platform 🤔
You do nothing by halves Dylan. Congratulations.
when life get hard read harder
What an opening! In the land of abundance, providers of discernment shall be rewarded with a sub :)
Truly admire what you're building Dylan. Some suggestions as you continue the later sections of screenwriting and fiction:
"On Writing" - Stephen King
"Writing for Emotional Impact" - Karl Iglesias
"Do Story" - Bobette Buster
"The Writer's Journey" - Christopher Vogler
"Story" - Robert McKee
Now that I've seen how you're approaching this, I think there are some missing under comedy. Specifically some of the following books on improv are not necessarily about writing, but since they are about improv they focus on creation, agreement, structure, and craft. Specifically, I would include:
- Truth in Comedy by Charna Halpern
- Impro by Keith Johnstone
- Improvise by Mick Napier
- Improvisation for the Theater by Viola Spolin
A few others about comedy:
- The American Language by H. L. Mencken
Depending on how far you want to stray from books strictly about craft, I would also consider Is This Anything by Jerry Seinfeld.
Also, unrelated to suggestions, but I would highly suggest publishing this in parallel on a place like Roam or Workflowy, where people can toggle, collapse, and search the lists. Would be happy to collab on building something like that with you.
Bravo, Dylan, on this debut!