The titles of the books I read in September are way off the beaten path. Since I’m writing a novel that includes a murder, I need to make sure I have certain details as accurate as possible.
Actually, I want to get all the details right, but my research and study in October concentrated on (1) the details about the dead body in the first chapter; (2) the ways in which the murderer tries to present himself as innocent; and (3) writing in deep point-of-view.
Hence, I read the books listed below. They aren’t exactly the kind of books one wants to curl up with on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but they were helpful (or, not-so-helpful) for what I needed them for.
Acting: The First Six Lessons, by Richard Boleslavsky
I checked this book out from the library in hopes that it would give pointers on how an actor “gets into character.” It did not.
In order to write a novel in deep point-of-view, I must get into character. I must write everything through the ears, eyes, and emotions of each of my point-of-view characters.
Badass Acting, by Tice Allison
I had the same hopes for this book. It failed to deliver.
Seven Pillars of Acting, by Sonya Cooke
I thought surely this acting book would include what I was looking for, but it didn’t.
I think I know what I’m doing in writing deep point-of-view. I just thought reading pointers on how an actor gets into character might be helpful. The best way to grasp this element of writing is to read the work of authors who do it well.
All these acting books might be helpful to someone learning the art of acting. They just didn’t cover what I was looking for.
Forensics for Dummies, by D.P. Lyle, M.D.
This book contained a bit of technical information I needed to know about the timeline for the body in my novel.
Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers, by D.P.
Like Forensics for Dummies, this book had bits and pieces of helpful information.
Forensics and Fiction: Clever, Intriguing, and Downright Odd Questions from Crime Writers, by D.P. Lyle,
You’ve maybe noticed a pattern here. Dr. D.P. Lyle is the leading expert in the field of forensics in writing books for writers and other laypersons.
What Every BODY is Saying, by Joe Navarro with Marvin Karlins, Ph.D.
I wanted to read this book to get pointers on how to tell if a person is lying. I wanted to incorporate “dead giveaways” in the words, body language, and behavior of the murderer in my novel. It was an interesting book. It gave some suggestions, but the bottom line was that you need to read more than one book to become an expert in spotting a lie.
Spy the Lie, by Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero, with Don Tennant
This book is very much like What Every BODY is Saying, by Joe Navarro. It’s a little more indepth but gives the same admonitions that you need to do more than read a couple of books in order to become an expert at telling when someone is lying. I don’t need to be an expert, so I think I’ll end my research there.
I won’t give any examples from the book because you can’t take just one or two hints and make a definitive decision about whether a person is lying to you. I hope most of us rarely are lied to, so it’s not a huge problem for us. On second thought, if we watch certain TV networks, are on Facebook, or hear any political campaign ads, we’re lied to every day.
The Little Red Writing Book, by Brandon Royal
The most helpful part of this tiny book is the pages of often-made-mistakes in grammar. For instance, you’d think by now I’d know when to use “who” and when to use “whom,” but I always have to look it up when I’m writing. When I’m talking, I probably get it wrong every time. Now I have a cheat sheet.
Breathing Life into Your Characters: How to Give Your Characters Emotional & Psychological Depth, by Rachel Ballon, Ph.D.
You probably recognize the name of this book, since I’ve referred to it a number of times in my blog this summer and fall. I started reading and working my way through it early this summer.
The online writing course I took for eight weeks pulled me away from it, but I did finish it in October. I highly recommend it to anyone writing their first novel.
Since my last blog post
I got my Moderna Covid-19 booster shot on Tuesday. I’m happy to still be fully-vaccinated. I just wish all the people I’d like to be around at church, etc. were vaccinated. That’s not going to happen, since the Covid-19 vaccine has been politicized in the United States. Although I still wore a mask, it was nice to get back to in-person worship yesterday after a long absence.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. At the recommendation of one of my Australian blogger friends, Chris Andrews, I’m finally reading The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, by Peter Frankopan. It’s excellent and a nice change of pace after the books I read in October.
Note: November is National Novel Writing Month, National Family Literacy Month, National Memoir Writing Month.
Note: Today is National Family Literacy Day and Author’s Day.
Wherever you are, thank you for reading my blog. Have you read any odd books or good books lately?