We’ve written our first book all by ourselves. The words materialized on the page. It’s a best-seller. So naïve. The publishers squash our dream of mega sales after multiple rejections. How is that possible? Could it be we know nothing about creative writing beyond what we learned in English class? Time to get educated. Conferences are not always cost effective for newbies putting their toe in the writing river.
However, there are lots of writing craft books out there by well-established authors who took the time to share their best practices in a book. I asked a few of my writer friends to tell me their favorite craft books and the response made me want to check out new resources. No matter what you struggle with as you create that manuscript there are books to guide you step by step. Most of the authors mentioned here have multiple writing craft books.
Books that introduce you to the art of writing
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas
(Donald Maas is the go-to guy for teaching writing excellence.)
Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
On Writing by Stephen King
The Emotional Craft of Writing by Donald Maas
21st Century Writing by Donald Maas
The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke
Story Genius by Lisa Cron
Books that speak to specific areas
Every writer stumbles with some aspect of writing. One of the suggestions below is sure to help.
How to manage your time to write your book
The Chunky Method by Allie Plieter
The flow and structure of your novel
First Pages of Best Sellers-What Works What Doesn’t and Why By C.S. Larkin
Super Structure the Key to Unleashing the Power of Story by James Scott Bell
First Fifty Pages by Jeff Gerke
Write your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell
The Last Fifty Pages by James Scott Bell
Specific areas writers struggle to grasp
Writing Unforgettable Characters by James Scott Bell
Voice: The Secret Power of Great Writing By James Scott Bell
Plot vs Character by Jeff Gerke
The Dance of Character and Plot by DiAnn Mills
Conflict vs Suspense by James Scott Bell
How to Write Dazzling Dialog by James Scott Bell
Writing Deep Viewpoint; Invite Your Readers into the Story by Kathy Tyers
Now you’ve finished your manuscript but do not understand the proper way to edit it. And rewriting is not very appealing after you’ve just sweated over 200,000 words. (please don’t even think about publishing that many words in one tome.)
Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King
Revisions and Self-editing for Publication by James Scott Bell
Murder Your Manuscript By Andrea Merrell
What about author blindness?
27 Blunders and How Not to Make Them by James Scott Bell
Writing with Excellence 201 by Joyce K. Ellis
What to do with your craft books
The key to success in learning the craft of writing when you acquire any of these books—READ them, DO the exercises. Take the advice and apply it. It is better to buy one book and wear it out, rather than every book on this list, and leave them on your bookshelf. (Guilty.)
Then my last encouragement is to read in the genre you want to write. For example, if you want to write a thriller, read many, and study how the authors construct their stories. Read the best-sellers to discover how and why they are so popular. This applies to non-fiction too. Grab them up and observe the structure of the book. Most are available in e-book if that is your preference. There are hundreds of books available on writing craft. So, take the plunge and see if your writing doesn’t improve exponentially.
Add your favorite writing craft book in the comments.
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