Writing Book Recommendations

I have benefited from writing books over the years. Here are two that I have found to be of great help.

SeSelfEditinglf-editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King – This is an excellent source for beginning to intermediate fiction writers that covers a wide range of crucial fiction topics such as showing versus telling, point of view consistency, dialogue mechanics, and interior monologue techniques.

It’s important to read these “rules” understanding that you don’t have to follow them rigidly, but beginning writers should learn these rules well enough to know when it’s all right to break them for the sake of a story.


TechniquesTechniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain – This book transformed my writing by introducing me to a concept called motivation-reaction units, which greatly improved my ability to create intimate point of view. It also goes over how to set up scenes and sequels in the story conflict cycles.

What does all of that mean? Read the book and check it out.

What writing books have helped you the most?



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22 replies

  1. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield But that was more for validation and motivation. Can’t wait to check out your recommendations!

  2. Getting the Words Right by Cheney not only has concrete examples, but prioritizes editing–there’s no point in quibbling over sentences if you’re going to drop the whole section.

  3. Ones I’ve read that are extremely helpful are K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel (both the reading book and the workbook) and Rebecca L. Mueller’s Power Elements of Story Structure.
    I’m going to check out your recommendations. Thanks! (I need all the advice for the writing craft that I can get. 😛 )


  4. On a similar vein, does anyone have tips or know of books that would help with writing children’s books? Other than writing a little more simply, are there any other things to keep in mind?

  5. One of my favorites is The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier by Bonnie Trenga. It’s easy to read and offers great writing tips.

    A longtime oldie would be The Complete Book of Scriptwriting by J. Michael Straczynski. This is more if you have an interest in writing a script, and it covers pretty much all of them (movie, TV, stage, radio, animation) but it also offers tips for how to write a story.

    Finally, any thesaurus. They are sooo helpful when you need to vary your vocabulary.

  6. The Emotion Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus and the Positive Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are amazingly helpful. They list emotions and traits and the actions, thoughts, words, and senses that go with those certain traits or emotions.

  7. Those books look quite good, Mr. Davis! I’ll have to look into them.

    One source that’s helped me a great deal is http://www.gailcarsonlevine@blogspot.com. Gail has years of posts on writing advice, and the comments section is full of conversations from her readers. People can ask her questions, and she’ll often answer in the form of a blog post. Her books “Writing Magic” and “Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink” are great for all ages.

  8. The Go Teen Writers book (Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Book). Very helpful and inspiring, even if you’re still on the first draft.

  9. What would your recommendation be to someone who got stuck writing a story, not that the story isn’t there, but more so I got stuck a few years ago in the process of actually writing the story down because my writing speed just simply isn’t as fast as I would like it to be.

  10. Oh, I missed this one. I have Self Editing, but not the Swain book. Um, I’ve developed a collection over the years.

    Top choices:
    –Steven James’ “Story Trumps Structure” (Steven is amazing. He’s a little rough on outliners once or twice, but if you’re an organic writer, this book is for you.
    –The Writing Excuses podcast (a team effort ) – http://www.writingexcuses.com/
    –Brandon Sanderson’s video lectures – YouTube – http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/brandon_w2012/
    –Dan Wells’ video lectures (also not an outliner) – YouTube – http://youtu.be/KcmiqQ9NpPE?list=PLC430F6A783A88697
    -The Art of War for Fiction Writers by James Scott Bell

    Others I’ve used and found helpful:
    –Getting into Character
    –How to Write a **** Good Novel (Sorry, Bryan, that’s the title. Good book though.)
    –Between the Lines (taught me so much about subtlety)
    –Writing Mysteries (helpful for SFF writers, too!)

    I know I read the Donald Maas one, or think I did, but I can’t find the title. Writing the Breakout Novel, I think.

    Hm. I still need need to read a few, but I burned out for a bit.

  11. I’ve tried to read Self Editing for Fiction writers, but I got put off by the section on how to write a proper sex scene. Maybe that wasn’t that book, but for some reason I associate that with it. The book I’ve found the most helpful is Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Novel by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson. It’s clean, it’s concise and it’s filled with resources. I love it and recommend it to any writer especially teens and amateurs.

    Stori Tori’s Blog


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