The "book to write by" that I wish to discuss this month is not a book at all, but two online courses that helped me in 2010. My money belt tightened. I left off conferences. So, last year, online courses became my main source of learning. A pitch for online instruction includes, learning at your own pace, in your home, in your pajamas, if desired. I've taken several of these, but I'd like to disucss two that helped me in particular areas of my writing.
The first one is "Supplementing Your Fiction Habit" with Janice Hanna Thompson. I would recommend this to any writer who wishes to write in more than one form, or who's shopping around a long manuscript but needs money, now. I love writing long fiction, but I also love short stories and devotions, so I found this course helpful. Ms. Thompson told us where to research markets, how to discard distractions and set up weekly goals for both long and short writing. She suggested thinking in terms of fifteen minutes to two hours instead of four to six hours for writing time. Different venues and other modes opened for me by studying what Ms. Thompson has done and continues to do though she is now multi-published in long fiction.
The second course which taught me this last year is "Storyboarding" with Shayla Black (aka Shelley Bradley). I utilized her method in writing the manuscript I have just finished. Shayla breaks storyboarding into easy-to-follow steps. Using storyboarding showed me where I needed to add focus, subplot or follow a thread of plot that by page one hundred, I might've forgetten. I used a simple poster board and four different colored post-it notes to storyboard, so a lot of expense isn't required. Ms. Black's lessons brought instant visualization to my manuscript. I highly recommend the course.
Online courses are a must-use for me. Though this year I do plan on a conference, I plan on scheduling certain courses in the comfort of my home.