Bibliography (sort of)
A more than less random list of books that are somehow related to The God Patent & The Sensory Deception
Books that appear in The God Patent•QED by Richard Feynman•The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Feynman, Leyton and Sands, all three volumes – especially Chapter 1 of volume III•Wrinkles in Time by George Smoot•The First Three Minutes by Steven Weinberg•Fuzzy Thinking by Bart Kosko Ransom’s favorite Popular Science books•Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Ralph Leighton•The God Particle by Leon Lederman•The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider by Don Lincoln•The Quark and the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Man•Relativity by Albert Einstein•Concepts of Particle Physics by Gottfried and WeisskopfRansom’s favorite booksFiction•PS Your Cat is Dead by James Kirkwood"I read this book about a gay stoner with bad luck when I was 12. It influenced me in every possible way: I couldn’t wait to smoke pot, discovered how to enjoy being depressed, and learned the absurdity of homophobia; each an important lesson for the All American Boy.”•The Harp and the Blade by John Myers Myers“Long out of print, bawdy, packed with morale injustice and drinking songs, this fantasy of a cursed minstrel is the exception to the rule that a great story requires lots of tension and high stakes.”•Call of the Wild by Jack London"I too raised my muzzle and howled."•The Hollow Hills (etc) by Mary Stewart“My favorite version of my favorite story; every really great tragedy is Arthurian.”•East of Eden by John Steinbeck“One day I walked into a bookstore and saw The God Patent a little to the right of East of Eden. I proceeded directly to a bar, bought a shot of scotch and toasted myself.”•The Black Company by Glen Cook“This fantasy saga breaks the good-evil rules, installs thick rich characters and turns the whole concept of battlefield magic into something that works.”•The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein“The view of the foibles of a troubled man from the point of view of his dog.” •Exult by Joe Quirk“Half tragedy half philosophy text and perhaps the most well kept secret in literary fiction.”•Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson“I put off reading Cryptonomicon despite friends’ suggestions for years and then picked it up when a guy at the bookstore said, “… this sort of reminds me of The God Patent,” I love that man.”•The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth“Perhaps the best thriller I’ve read. Forsyth, by the way, puts on a plotting clinic in every book he writes.”•The Panther’s Hoard by Nancy Varian Berberick“Includes one of my all time favorite characters, Lydi, as compassionate and gentle as can be.”•All her Father’s Guns by James Warner“Also from Numina Press. James is one of these talents that’s going to explode on the scene and people will say he’s an overnight sensation. After decades of hard work.” Nonfiction•Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat“A great story that should be read by everyone who loves dogs.”•Mathematical Physics by Eugene Butkov“I got his beautiful red and gold bound textbook when I was a senior in high school purely for the title and binding and since then have opened it at every opportunity. It turned out to be pretty good, too.”•The Immense Journey by Loren Eisely•Mind in the Waters by Joan McIntyre“Covers dolphins and whales in myth, legend, culture, zoology and biology; I carried it with me everywhere from age 10 to 18.”•A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers“Stranded at the Denver airport overnight, I bought this book, read it and saw the life I shared with my daughter in those pages. Had I not read this book, it’s possible I’d have never written one. I therefore blame Dave Eggers for everything.”•Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby (plus every other book he’s written)“This is what it’s like to be a fan in the truest sense of the word; Nick breathes Arsenal Red, I sweat silver and black.”•What Do You Care what Other People Think? by Richard Feynman•Churchill by Martin Gilbert“Unashamed, uber-patriotic story of the man who won WWII, it’ll bring out the Anglophile in you.”•Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention by Elizabeth Drinker Bowen“Amazingly digestible play-by-play action of how the US government was formulated; if only we paid closer attention to our ideals.”Books for writers:On the Craft•The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale“It’s kind of embarrassing, but I couldn’t write a page without this book on the table next to me.”•The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White“Short and simple basics worthy of frequent review, but I didn’t need to tell you that, did I?”•Fowler’s Modern English Usage“If the Oxford English Dictionary defines the language, Fowler defines how it should be used. This book is the authority, defy it at your own risk; plus, Fowler is so pompous that his demands are hilarious.”•Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King“Far more than a book on editing, I think this is the ultimate book on craft at the sentence-paragraph level.”•Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card•Writing Novels that Sell by Jack M. Bickham“In addition to being an awesome training course for developing and writing smooth, professional stories, this book cracks me up because Bickham is so cranky.”•Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman"Big league agent simplifies the elements of the blockbuster guided by specific examples; really teaches you the craft at the book level.”•Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass“Read this one after Zuckerman’s because Maass works through the finer points.”•The Art of Fiction by David Lodge"Relaxing stroll through the craft of the critic.”•How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen“Necessary evil.”Motivation•On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King“There are a lot of great craft suggestions too, but mostly I find this book more of a survival guide than a writing text.”•Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury•On Writing by F. Scott Fitzgerald“Letters too and from writers and editors of his time.”•The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell“Has nothing to do with writing other than what Dennis Lehane calls the writer’s greatest challenge: fear management.”•Your Pursuit of Greatness - a workbook by Ransom Stephens“This is the workbook that accompanies my career transition speech. It helps people are really going for it to see their way up the metaphorical hill.”
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BOOKS FOR WRITERS
Annotated Bibliography by Nancy G. West
These books are not listed in any particular order. Start with the one that interests you and search for the topic that intrigues you. You’ll gain new understanding from each book.
Screenwriting Tricks for Authors: Stealing Hollywood, Alexandra Sokoloff After working as a screenwriter for ten years, Sokoloff turned to novels.She realized that screenwriting structure and techniques that Hollywood types take for granted can be adapted to novels to great advantage. Her first novel was nominated for an Anthony and Bram Stoker award. You can use her book to plan, plot, revise and edit your novel. Don’t miss this one.
The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers (2nd Edition), Christopher Vogler. The title makes the book sound academic and theoretical, but it’s not. Vogler’s prose is easy to digest. He participated in writing the movies Star Wars and The Lion King and has been story consultant for hundreds of other films. His book is a classic for screenwriters. Vogler understands story structure—elements of stories from earliest mythology which have reappeared in stories through the ages because they resonate with listeners and readers. Writers who digest Vogler’s concept of story elements will dramatically improve their fiction.
The Art of Dramatic Writing, Lejos Egri. The author discusses how dramatic writing is the “creative interpretation of human motives.” He talks primarily about stage plays, but almost everything Egri says applies to fiction. This is a classic and necessary book for fiction writers.
Scene and Structure, Jack Bickham. He describes how to construct fiction scene-by-scene with logic, flow and readability. Bickham divulges the nuts and bolts of crafting a story. This is one of a series of books on writing that are published by Writer’s Digest Books. Others are Beginnings, Middles and Ends – excellent and clear information by super teacher Nancy Kress; Conflict, Action and Suspense; and Description. More books by Jack Bickham are listed below.
The Basic Patterns of Plot, Foster-Harris. This journalism professor and multi-published writer founded a creative writing laboratory at the University of Oklahoma. Here, he addresses the ingredients and patterns of plots and gives specific examples.
Techniques of the Selling Writer, Dwight Swain. He followed Foster-Harris at the University of Oklahoma. His book is helpful and specific on the creation, execution, and selling of fiction. Particularly enlightening is his description of writing a novel in scenes and sequels.
Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden. By discussing twenty-four fiction techniques, Roerden shows writers how to avoid the pitfalls of mediocre writing—“clues” that signal agents and publishers that “this writer is an amateur” and renders their manuscripts “dead on arrival.” She gives examples of how 130 published authors, mostly mystery writers, have fixed these problems. Plentiful examples and insightful comments make her readable book invaluable to fiction writers. Her book won the Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction. For more information about the book, click here.
Writing and Selling Your Novel, Jack M. Bickham. He followed Dwight Swain at the University of Oklahoma’s creative writing program. Bickham reinforces Swain’s methods and adds examples and brain-piercing instruction to create a valuable tool for fiction writers.
Get That Novel Started and Get That Novel Written, both by Donna Levin. These Writer’s Digest Books are designed for beginners, but all novelists will discover new ways to view their work and fix problem areas.
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner. The author gives a helpful overview of fictional theory and variety. Gardner also addresses elements of fiction.
The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Novel Writing, Editors of Writer’s Digest. Various writers address the elements of fiction: action, character, setting, and plot. By considering other writers’ views and styles, the reader views her/his own work in a different light and can make it richer. This is a good book to read after you’ve been working on your novel for a while.
The 39 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them), Jack M. Bickham. This is a quick read and good checklist for one’s work.
Writing Mysteries, a Handbookby the Mystery Writers of America, Ed. Sue Grafton. This compilation of articles, each on some aspect of writing mysteries by various professionals in the field, illustrates the goals mystery writers seek and problems they face. After you read an author’s mysteries, it is intriguing to read his/her discussion of them. Students are guaranteed to come away with new understanding of various writing techniques.
How to Write a Damn Good Novel, James N. Frey. Frey’s no-nonsense guide seems most useful during the time the novelist is creating his/her novel. At that point, Frey piques the novelist’s mind about avenues to explore and areas not to overlook.
Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott. This is the book to read when your writing sags, your spirit droops, and you wonder why you ever wanted to write. Lamont’s quirky, painfully honest, lyrical prose about her own writing reminds you why you love to write.
The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book, Susan Page. Primarily geared to nonfiction writers, this book helps all writers understand that publishing is a business and that promoting a book ranks equally with the quality of its prose in determining a book’s success.
On Writing, Stephen King. Whether or not you applaud King’s subject matter or his language choices, he is a very skilled writer. To craft fiction, he teases a story out of a situation. For him, this method precedes character creation. He talks about images of place, about action, pacing, and dialogue, and about the purpose and necessary amount of description. Once his story is written, King tells how he injects symbols and brings out themes. He discusses revision and zeros in on elements of style and punctuation that distinguish the amateur from the professional. No fiction writer should miss this book.