Which books have been the most useful to you in regards to your writing? Let’s make a list of books we’ve found helpful.
I found Orson Scott Card’s Characters and Viewpoint very helpful.
It seems to have somewhat polarised reviews, but I found it useful, especially the POV section.
Strunk and White is worth reading, and is an excellent demonstration of the value of brevity too.
One of the books I found most helpful was Fiction Is Folks: How to Create Unforgettable Characters by Robert Newton Peck. It’s an oldie but a goodie, engaging and full of examples of how to bring characters alive on the page. Another book I found helpful was Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels by Gwen Hayes. I’ve yet to find a better book on the structure and pacing of romance stories. Also, Write Your Novel From the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers, and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell is eye-opening and helped me look at stories from a new perspective, gaining insight and understanding character arcs in a brand new way. Finally, I believe Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron deserves a mention, if only because it helped shift my thinking about planning out novel-length ideas before attempting them.
When I first started writing before I discovered Daniel and the Character First method, I read The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne as though it was the Bible. The podcast and website are helpful as well.
I also found Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland to help me dig for the essence of the characters.
I’ve heard if there’s any one book to have on you craft shelf, Lisa Cron’s could well be it. It’s so frustrating to have no library at hand. When it comes to such essays, I’m a skimmer(and cheap), so I really do missing sitting down in a cubby with a stack of 700s and while away the day.
Best is The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman. Hugely influential guy who knows whereof he speaks! He’s a lit agent, a screen writer and an author but he’s mainly writing with his lit agent’s hat on. It’s an old book (first published in 1999) but well worth your while to look out for a copy. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve recommended this book to other authors.
Based upon how helpful I found Lukeman’s The First Five Pages so long ago, I also have his The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life and A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation on my physical shelf.
I’m enjoying Story Trumps Structure by Steven James and Take Off your Pants- Outline Faster by Libby Hawker