Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Top Ten Writing Books

At every writing conference, one of the invariable questions is, “What books should I read on the craft?” While I’ve never been asked, it got me wondering—which books would I recommend? So here are ten of the books I’ve found useful on my writing journey:

Revision and Self-Editing
By James Scott Bell
--I haven’t technically finished this book yet, but it seems like a good overview/summary of the writing craft as a whole.

The Imagineering Way: Ideas to Ignite Your Creativity
By the Imagineers
--I picked up this book from Disney World a few years ago and have found no better book on creativity and brainstorming. Consider the back cover copy: “Q: How many Imagineers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Does it have to be a light bulb?”

Getting Into Character
By Brandilyn Collins
--A primer on character creation

The Writer’s Journey
By Christopher Vogler
--You either hate it or love it, but this study of the hero’s journey unlocked many mysteries of plotting for me.

Techniques for the Selling Writer
By Dwight Swain
--A look at the macro level of the writing craft, such as overarching story and scene work

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
By Rennie Browne and Dave King
--Practical help for craft issues on the mirco level: dialogue, POV, showing and telling, etc.

Woe is I
By Patricia T. O’Conner
--A humorous guide for the grammatically challenge

Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript
By Cynthia Laufenberg
--A quick and succinct reference for formatting everything from articles to screenplays to e-queries. Full of bulleted lists and examples, especially good for authors who write in many styles.

Your Novel Proposal: From Creation to Contract
By Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook
--Step-by-step guide for novelists trying to get an agent and a contract

Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life
Edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz
--A great book of encouragement, especially when the rejections come: No one has received as many bad rejections as Snoopy!

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