PICK UP YOUR PEN
I was a 90s kid. While all my friends wanted to be Britney Spears when they grew up, I wanted to be Stephen King... and Cyndi Lauper. That’s as far back as my love for writing goes. I didn’t actually sit down and finish a publishable novel until I was about twenty-five. That’s when I stuffed my brain with as much as I could learn about the writing process, taking a couple years to just read, learn, and study until I felt confident enough to actually complete a novel that I would feel comfortable showing to anyone.
There is an abundance of content out there, so it can be very overwhelming knowing where to start. For anyone interested in writing a novel - or writing anything really – I have narrowed those books down to just three of what I would recommend to anyone who wants to write. While there are so many great books on writing out there, there was something about these that got right to the point. I still use them to this day whenever I need to borrow an exercise or work on that tricky dialogue (among all the other elements of writing!).
So, grab your highlighters and dig in! These books are so much fun and will help build your confidence as a writer.
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PLOT PERFECT BY PAULA MUNIER
I love this book so much and I highly recommend it to start with. This detailed book will help you build a strong, original story and the author helps you do it by explaining why certain writing elements are important and exactly what you need to do to implement them into your story. There are structure examples, writing samples, tips and tricks, etc, etc, etc. What helped me personally was how to weave all the elements of writing through a story in a well-balanced way. If you don’t know much about writing or what to do with yours, this is a GREAT place to start.
HOW TO CRAFT A GREAT STORY BY CHRIS SYKES
Oh the exercises! As I look at this book right now, I am counting seventeen Post Its sticking out of the pages. That’s how many exercises I still use from this book when I’m outlining my scenes and chapters. I recommend this book mostly for all the excellent brainstorming and outlining exercises it provides. It is too easy to get lazy with the writing and when that happens, the characters and plot become weak and reactive. This book has helped me stay on track with keeping my characters proactive and keeping my plot strong and tied to theme.
WRITING FOR EMOTIONAL IMPACT BY KARL IGLESIAS
Where do I begin? This is probably my favorite book on writing. While I think it was aimed at screenwriters, the content of this book can be implemented into any kind of writing. There is nothing I enjoy more than connecting with readers through words and this book is the key to doing just that. I recommend this book when your story has been written and you are ready to polish it. Also, if you want your dialogue to pop, this is the book to read as there is an entire section devoted to great dialogue. What I liked the most from this book was the clever use of subtext. Readers are smart so they can figure out what you are trying to say without you directly stating it.