Writing Resources can be invaluable in your day-to-day work and in networking. Check out the links below.
I recommend that you read many different craft books. Listen to many different techniques. Then, pick and choose the tools, definitions, and exercises from a source that suits you. Try one for a while but if it doesn’t work, try another. Eventually, you’ll accumulate many techniques and will switch amongst them for different projects. Sometimes you might even need to switch in the middle of a project.
STRUCTURE and PLOT
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain. Highly recommended. Swain’s Motivation-Reaction Unit is the most basic tool for writing well.
Story by Robert McKee. Though McKee wrote this for screenwriters, it is also helpful for a novelist or a short story writer. His principles of antagonism are a tool I use.
Save the Cat: The Only Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. Another screenwriting book. Blake Snyder has a different way of looking at story structure with lots of examples from films. I adapted his beat sheet for my own use.
Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell. Clear direction and exercises to help you write a story people will want to read.
Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham. Another book on story structure that gives you a different game plan.
Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing by Larry Brooks. A systematic set of guideposts for making your story successful.
How to Write Best Selling Fiction by Dean Koontz. A practical, detailed approach to writing from a best-selling author.
Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell. Helpful information and tips on an area where many writers are weak.
Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. An in-depth examination of how to create your characters.
Bullies, Bastards, and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction by Jessica Morrell. Villains get three-dimensional.
TIPS AND INSPIRATION
Story Genius by Lisa Cron. A character-driven method for preparing for and writing your novel,
Writing the Natural Way by Gabrielle Rico, Ph.D. Exercises to get the muse going.
Writing the Breakout Novel: Winning Advice from a Top Agent and His Best-selling Client by Donald Maass. Maass, a top agent for science fiction and fantasy authors, breaks down the elements that are common to any best-selling book. The examples he uses are from best-sellers.
The Fire in Fiction: by Passion, Purpose, and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great by Donald Maass. Examples and exercises designed to show you how to infuse your fiction with passion.
POLISHING YOUR PROSE
Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us by Jessica Page Morrell. Examples of bad writing help you write better.
100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost. A guide to making your writing stronger.
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Focused on hooking your reader.
Writing Excuses Fifteen minute long discussions of craft across the spectrum of speculative fiction genres.
The Creative Penn Joanna Penn is from Great Britain but her advice and interviews on all aspects of writing from creation to publishing to marketing are brilliant.
The Story Grid Podcast Top editor, Shawn Coyne, teaches Tim Grahl, a beginning writer, how to craft a story using Shawn’s tool, the story grid.
MargieLawson.com Margie teaches writers how to use her psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques to create page turners.(direct quote from her website because I can’t do better. )
StoryGrid.com An editor-created, detailed, spreadsheet for developing, writing, and editing your story.
HollyLisle.com Holly teaches writers how to write. Her How to Think Sideways and How to Revise Your Novel are only two of her many useful courses.
Dean Wesley Smith A prolific writer across multiple genres writes about writing and the business of writing. You’ll want to check out: Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing and Think Like a Publisher.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch Kristine’s business musings are always worth reading. So’s all her other posts and her free fiction.
John Scalzi’s blog Whatever where John talks about writing, science fiction, fans, and whatever.
Dan Wells on Story Structure – the first in a series of YouTube videos on story structure.
The Hemmingway App – A tool to evaluate the readability of your text.
Grammarly Paste in your text and check your grammar.
Grammar Girl A website with quick tips on the quirks of English grammar.
Writer Beware Warnings About the Schemes, Scams, and Pitfalls That Threaten Writers
The Virtual Reference Desk Created by a reference library, this searchable site contains links to research and government documents
Timetables of History: a Horizontal Linkage of People and Events by Bernard Grun
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E.B. White
Blog Posts on This Site
- Re-Visioning Your Story
- Do You Know the Secrets of Successful Story-writing
- Lies, Secrets and Scars Create Better Characters
- Because There Are Secrets, Lies, and Scars
I hope you’ve found this list of writing resources helpful. Have questions? Please contact me. I’ll answer your questions to the best of my ability.