I happened to be at the University of Hull today, for an appointment that didn't quite happen, but while I was there, I popped into the university bookshop, where I picked up copies of The Writer's Journey, The Seven Basic Plots, and a short book entitled The Writer's Toolkit, by Penny Grubb and Danuta Reah.
I have something of a love hate relationship with books like this. On the one hand, I see it as important that, as a professional writer, I make an effort to learn as much as I can about the craft. On the other, I think that much of the field is very similar to the realm of diet books, in that there's a lot of nonsense and pseudo-science masquerading as nailed on certainty.
I haven't got far with them yet, although so far, my favourite is probably The Writer's Toolkit, because it is short, practical and doesn't pretend to have all the answers. I bought the others essentially because so many people swear by them and I thought it was only fair to at least read them. I don't particularly expect them to revolutionise my approach (the mixture of nonsensical Jungian psychology and the inevitable 'George Lucas did it so it must be right stuff' from The Writer's Journey is wearing particularly thin), I intend to read quite critically, because claiming to have the answers invites it, but maybe there will be some ideas to spark some interesting directions.