Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back Into the Writing Groove: Craft Books

Since I am starting on my next manuscript, I figured I would try to apply some new craft tips and maybe even plot beforehand (oh, my!). That said, I wanted to brush up on some craft books to get the juices flowing and to (hopefully) write this next manuscript more efficiently.

Some craft books I read during this process (or old faithfuls that I keep returning to) were:

The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson: I just recently read this book, and I got a lot out of it. I'm not really a plotter to begin with, but I thought it would be helpful to at least see the techniques and thought-process of a plotter. Perhaps if I applied them to my own writing routine, I might find things "coming together" with more ease. I will have to let you all know how it goes for me in practice instead of just theory!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

On Writing by Stephen King: This book still just always touches the place in my heart that burns with a passion for writing. This isn't a book really structured where you will find bullet points and exercises. This is really an inside look of the writing journey of one of the best-selling authors of our time. I really appreciated that. It shows, first-hand, his struggles of becoming a published author and how and why he believes he has succeeded. Sometimes you just need a story like that (told by a great storyteller) to feel refreshed and ready to tackle your next writing project.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (and The Fire in Fiction [basically anything by Donald]): Donald Maas has a way with explaining complex topics in writing and making it sound easy to do. I know, in practice, it still isn't easy, but at least I understand the importance of certain aspects of storytelling and why they work and how certain ideas and stories become best sellers. Of course, a lot can do with luck and timing, but there are some factors that we can control. These books will really open your mind to where you might take your idea, expand on it, and make it more than you originally thought possible.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder: This is another book I recently stumbled upon as I investigate if plotting is for me. Blake really does a great job of giving examples (even though they are all movie examples), and explaining the different plot points that all (good) stories have. Even if I don't end up plotting, in detail, for my next books, I think having a bare bones "outline" is still something that is very helpful as you progress. Using the beat sheet given in this book, you should be able to fill out those plot points or you really are sailing your story ship around just hoping to hit land eventually. I don't know about you, but I want more efficiency in my writing time, so I'm going to try to use this in my future projects.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

So what about you guys? Any craft books that you find really helpful when starting a new project?


  1. For inspiration:
    - If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland

    For actual writing:
    - Story Engineering by Larry Brooks