Author Topic: Books about writing - list your favourite!  (Read 447 times)

Lady T L Jennings

Books about writing - list your favourite!
« on: October 11, 2018, 02:14:42 AM »
I thought it could be useful with a thread about books that focus on writing, both for newbies and for more experienced writers who want to broadened their horizon and improve their writing. :-)

List your favourite books about writing that have made you a better writer, increased your productivity, or that have inspired you to write more.
Feel free to discuss each other book recommendations. :-)

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“Take of your pants!” by Libbie Hawker is my favourite book about the writing craft.

This was one of the first books about writing that I stumbled upon after I decided that I wanted to try to improve my writing and increase my word per day count.
It’s straightforward and a really good book for beginners regarding how to outline and plot a novel. It’s filled with examples and goes through the different “beats” in a book, as well as summarise different characters main roll (antagonist, ally, etc).

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get better at plotting and outlining. I've re-read it several times and each time I find something new that I haven’t thought about before.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 02:24:10 AM by Lady T L Jennings »
Lady T. L. Jennings ~ Writing Victorian Romance and ohlala in longhand since 2011. Visit her at: www.mysecretquill.com

     
The Dangerous Letters Trilogy ~ Gay Historical Romance
 
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Tom Wood

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 03:25:48 AM »
Story - Robert McKee
and
The Writer's Journey - Christopher Vogler
are a duo that look at story from two different directions. Story is more from the inside-out, while Journey is more of an outside-in look at structure - based on Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces, the genesis for The Hero's Journey paradigm.

Similarly,
Story Genius and the prequel Wired For Story - Lisa Cron
and
Save the Cat and Save the Cat Strikes Back - Blake Snyder
are also a duo of duos that take different approaches - inside-out versus outside-in.

The Anatomy of Story - John Truby is the basis for Take Off Your Pants, and looks at the main character in relation to the other characters in the story.

The Seven Basic Plots - Christopher Booker is an exhaustive (and overly repetitious) look at plot and character that ends up asserting that every plot is a form of the maturation plot.  :icon_think:

The Story Grid - Shawn Coyne is a good breakdown of the Thriller, using Silence of the Lambs as the dissection sample.

At some point you have to synthesis all this and create your own approach. I don't like that a lot of those authors insist that they've found THE way to tell a story, and if you just follow their template it will work. Some sell coaching services, so buyer beware.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 02:57:14 AM by Tom Wood »
 
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Denise

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2018, 03:29:17 AM »
My favorite is The Secrets of Story, by Matt Bird, but he has stuff on his blog as well.

http://www.secretsofstory.com/

Awesome topic, I'll be back to check for more recommendations. I've read all the books recommended upthread.
 
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alawston

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2018, 08:20:40 PM »
I remain a firm fan of Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman's How Not To Write A Novel.
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 08:41:34 PM »
Stephen King's On Writing
 
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Jo

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2018, 09:46:52 PM »
Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy Cohen

The Elements Of Mystery Fiction by William Tapply

On Writing by Stephen King
Jo
 
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Vijaya

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2018, 12:08:13 AM »
Writing the Breakout Novel by Don Maass

Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

Not a craft book, but when you need a push: Right to Write by Julia Cameron
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 02:23:11 AM by Vijaya »

Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 
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Rickie Blair

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2018, 01:22:49 AM »
My favorite is The Secrets of Story, by Matt Bird, but he has stuff on his blog as well.
http://www.secretsofstory.com/

Ditto. I also find the Red Sneaker series of books by William Bernhardt to be useful, hands-on guides.
 
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oganalp

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2018, 02:12:44 AM »
- The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression - Book by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. There are several books in these series, and all are useful.
- Writing the Breakout Novel - Donald Maas - A good insight, although a bit out of date in certain areas regarding the e-book scene
- Stein on writing - Sol Stein
- Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish. Actually, I have all of Bell's books. They are all good.
- Self-editing for Fiction Writers - Book by Dave King and Renni Browne[/li][/list]
- Writing Fiction for Dummies - Novel by Peter Economy and Randall Ingermanson. Too much Orson Card love here, but it is still a very good book.
- Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World - Michael Hyatt. Good for reminding oneself the marketing tricks. A bit blog focused, but still very useful.
- Write, Publish, Repeat: The No Luck Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success - Book by David E. Wright, Johnny B. Truant, and Sean Platt
- Master Lists for Writers: Book I, Knights of Manus Sancti - Book by Bryn Donovan. The indexing is bad, but it is a very useful resource.
- Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot,... Book by K. M. Weiland
- Do the Work - Book by Steven Pressfield

These are the ones I've read that I found useful, and returning for reference. I hope they help.

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VanessaC

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2018, 02:51:35 AM »
My favourite: 2k to 10K by Rachel Aaron. 

Great, actionable info you can apply to increase productivity - no matter where you start, and you don't need to end up at 10K a day!  I find my writing sessions are much better when I apply her tips.  The book also includes editing tips.  (You can get all the bits free on her blog, too, last time I checked.)

I also highly recommend Rachel Aaron's writing blog which I think is called Pretentious Title (url is something like "this blog is a ploy"). Lots of great stuff there about series arcs and generally great bits and pieces on writing.

I actually haven't done a huge amount of reading about the craft of writing, etc as I'm one of those people that learns by doing, but I keep meaning to read up more on story structure and plotting, so I'm delighted to see lots of great ideas above.  I think my "to be read" pile might be increasing a bit.  Hazards of being on a writing forum!
 

Genre: Fantasy
 
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cecilia_writer

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2018, 05:32:25 AM »
Ages ago I read How to Write a Million, and got a lot out of it (though not a million unfortunately!). It's good at explaining plotting in acts. Although I had already written quite a few plays by the time I read it, I hadn't really made the connection.

I also love No Plot No Problem and even thinking of it now reminds me how exciting it was to write without a plot for the first time.
Cecilia Peartree - Woman of Mystery
 

Kyra Halland

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2018, 06:39:28 AM »
The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne has been really helpful to me in doing structural revisions of my first drafts. It also draws on an outlining method from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It's simple and flexible and is helping me get a grip on the book I'm currently writing.

I'm also loving The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maas. It has specific examples and exercises to help you add emotional depth to your story. Another great aid to revision.


Tales of fantasy, heroism, and romance.
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keithsink

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 06:56:09 AM »
Dare To Be A Great Writer - 329 Keys to Powerful Fiction By Leonard Bishop (New Favorite)
Writer's Workshop by Stephen Koch
Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight


K. A. Sink | Piddlepup Publishing
Genre: Cozy Mystery
 

Endless Wave

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Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 07:14:45 AM »
A little OT, but a good resource: get a baby name book, ideally one that also includes information on common last names in vars countries or ethnic groups.  Without one of these, my writing would be littered with 'Mr. Blabla' and 'Ms. Unibrow,' and I just know a couple of those placeholder names would slip through proofreading!
 

Gerri Attrick

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2018, 10:28:47 PM »
Write Your Novel From The Middle, by James Scott Bell - who is fast becoming my writing guru of choice.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 04:56:42 AM by Gerri Attrick »
 
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sstreet

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Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2018, 03:22:59 AM »
12 key pillars of novel construction by C.S. Lakin

 

TinkSaid

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2018, 06:41:44 AM »
Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

Master List for Writers by Bryn Donovan

Both also share advice & free stuff on their websites :)

Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell (or anything by James Scott Bell)

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes by Jack Bickham (ditto.)
 

JRTomlin

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2018, 08:51:08 AM »
Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish - James Scott Bell
Self-editing for Fiction Writers - Book by Dave King and Renni Brown
Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint - Nancy Kress

And of course the Chicago Manual of Style.
 
 

Jeff Tanyard

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Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2018, 10:59:48 AM »
Not exactly a book, but I'll toss in the Turkey City Lexicon:

http://www.critters.org/turkeycity.html
v  v  v  v  v  v    Short Stories    v  v  v  v  v  v       Anthology       vvv FREE! vvv
        
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NCB

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2018, 08:37:58 AM »
Another vote for Stephen King's on writing, probably the book that made me realise that actually I could write.

Possibly a bit marmite(?) but I also like the Joanna Penn books, again affirm my belief.
 

munboy

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2018, 08:53:04 AM »
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont
 
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Captain Cranky

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2018, 12:09:04 PM »
Anything by Gary Provost, especially 'Make Every Word Count' and 'Beyond Style'.
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JRTomlin

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2018, 12:17:05 PM »
The only reason I don't include Stephen King's On Writing is that I consider it a book about being a writer much more than about writing, in spite of the title.  I do recommend it for all writers.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 12:24:45 PM by JRTomlin »
 

bookworm

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2018, 12:17:19 PM »

Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight
I love this book!
 

Kay

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2018, 03:04:34 AM »
One I don't see mentioned often, but I really liked (because writing description/settings is a weakness of mine) was Writing Active Setting by Mary Buckham. I got it as a boxed set, but it looks like she has it as 3 separate books now.
 

kdiem

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2018, 10:35:17 AM »
Patricia C. Wrede -- Wrede on Writing : http://mybook.to/WredeOnWriting (Link includes my shameless affiliate link for Amazon.com)

It's a very common sense approach to writing. She also has a blog stuffed with useful things and of course, you can't forget her famous world-building question list that the SFWA site hosts because it's so awesome.

The blog is: https://www.pcwrede.com/blog/

The question list is: https://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

Author. Bibliophile. Fangirl.
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themonthofmay

Re: Books about writing - list your favourite!
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2018, 02:15:41 AM »
Anything by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Her website is also a treasure trove of writer advice--both for craft and business.
 
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