Hey, fellow writers! The following is a list of my all-time favorite craft books with some of my thoughts on each and links to Goodreads for more information.
I’d love to hear from you about your favorites as well. Please feel free to share them in the comments section. 🙂
VERBALIZE by Damon Suede.
A fresh way of viewing and crafting fiction that will blow your mind and offer a blueprint to reassemble the pieces. Forget what you know about building a character. With humor, wisdom, and vivid examples from popular fiction, Damon offers a better way to go about building a book—from a character’s core outward and utilizing verbs. Helpful exercises make it easy to apply his craft advice whether you are a plotter, pantser, or an inbetweener. This book is a game-changer not only for the writers who pick it up but for genre-fiction as a whole.
ON WRITING ROMANCE: HOW TO CRAFT A NOVEL THAT SELLS by Leigh Michaels
This is one of the first craft books I ever picked up. Once upon a time, I figured out that the romance plot was central to all my stories and began seeking sources to help me. This book was an incredible eye-opener. On Writing Romance begins with the history of the romance novel and moves to particulars about its craft including subgenres, character-building, and conflict.
Read more about this title on Goodreads by clicking here.
THANKS, BUT THIS ISN’T FOR US by Jessica Page Morrell
The full title of this book says it all: Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us: The Compassionate Guide to Understanding What’s Wrong With Your Writing and Leaving the Rejection Pile for Good. Morrell is one of my all-time favorites. You’ll see two more titles by her on this list. In this book, she uses her unique sense of humor and relatable examples to share common errors newbie writers need to know. Also, the cover is adorable.
Read more about Morrell’s title on Goodreads by clicking here.
GMC: GOAL, MOTIVATION AND CONFLICT by Debra Dixon
This is an indispensable look at the very heart of any story. I’ve read blog and portions of craft books that cover this topic, but I enjoy the depth to which Dixon takes it. You can have all the beautiful prose in the world, but if your story lacks a strong foundation, you will lose your reader.
Read more about Dixon’s title on Goodreads by clicking here.
BULLIES, BASTARDS & BITCHES: HOW TO WRITE THE BAD GUYS IN FICTION by Jessica Page Morrell
Did you get a kick out of the title? I did. 🙂
In this book, Morrell goes deep into the antagonist–offering character types, pitfalls, and advice on strengthening your bad guys. Go deep into the dark side.
For more on Morrell’s book, click here.
ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT by Stephen King
An incredibly inspiring book by some writer of whom I’m sure you’ve never heard. 🙂 But in all seriousness, this is an incredible all-around book that is part life, part writing, part wisdom.
For more on King’s book, click here.
WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass
This is an all-around great book that offers writing techniques to help your work stand out in the slush pile.
Read more about Maass’s book by clicking here.
BETWEEN THE LINES: MASTER THE SUBTLE ELEMENTS OF FICTION WRITING by Jessica Page Morrell
This is a fabulous book to read during the revision process. It’s a lot to take in, so I suggest reading a bit, applying, and going back for more. In this book, Morrell “shows you how to craft a unified and layered novel or short story by mastering subtle storytelling techniques” (Goodreads blurb).
Read more about Morrell’s title by clicking here.