Thursday, August 23, 2012

Favorite Writing Books

I started collecting writing books in middle school. Yes, I was that much of a geek! :) I'd do things around the house to make money that I would save to buy books from the Writer's Digest Book Club. At one time I had a huge stack of writing books, but I've whittled them down over the years to the ones I like best.

Here are the writing books I recommend:

  • Writing the Breakout Novel and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass - I have both on my shelf, but the workbook is the one I refer to again and again. The book is great for an in depth look at Mr. Maass's advice and techniques, but I love the workbook for all the exercises in it. I'm actually carrying the workbook around in my bag with my laptop and manuscript right now as I work on revisions. It's my favorite resource for really getting into the meat of a story!
  • I'm putting these three together:
    Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
    Characters, Emotions & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress
    Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood - great books on getting into your characters.
  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi - great reference on conveying emotions, especially helpful if you get stuck in a smile/shrug/frown loop
  • Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell - good reference for building a foundation in your stories
I have others that I have kept too, but these are the ones I refer to most often. I love to read writing books and see how other writers develop their stories. Their methods may not work for me, but I always find it interesting to learn something new.

What about you? What are your favorite books on writing?


  1. I like the Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. I want to check out the one by him that you mentioned. Also No Plot! No Problem by Chris Baty. Most people use it just for NaNoWriMo, but I think it's got some wonderful tips for staying organized and focused.

    Ashley Prince @ The Bibliophile's Corner

  2. Thanks for the comment, Ashley! I haven't read either of those, although I've heard a lot about No Plot No Problem. I really need to pick it up one day! I enjoy James Scott Bell's writing books. I have another one by him on my wishlist, Revision & Self-Editing. I've heard good things about it!

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'll add those to my to-read list. :)