For those of you tackling a first novel, those books -- recommended by author and teacher Patricia Griffith -- offer techniques, advice . . . and encouragement:

"The Rhetoric of Fiction," by Wayne C. Booth. A bible for writers which treats points of view, styles and methods of narration.

"The Art of Dramatic Writing, It's Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives," by Lajos Egri. A simple, basic, extremely helpful study of drama, applicable to any creative writing.

"Narrative Technique," by Thomas Uzzell. An old but valuable book.

"The Art of the Novel," by Henry James. Actually a collection of his famous introductions.

"Approaches to the Novel," edited by Robert Scholes. Includes essays by Frye, Forster and others.

"Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular," by Rust Hills. Succinct and down to earth. Very practical.

"Mystery and Manners," by Flannery O'Connor. A priceless collection of assorted essays, most of them dealing with writing.

"How To Read a Novel," by Caroline Gordon.

"Fiction and the Figures of Life" and "On Being Blue," by William H. Gass.

"The Poetics of Space," by Gaston Bachelard. A difficult, but fascinating book on imagery and metaphor.

"Love and Death in the American Novel," by Leslie Fiedler.

"A Necessary Angel," by Wallace Stevens. A long essay on the imagination.