Top Ten Favorite
Books on the Craft of Writing
To commemorate NaNoWriMo, I decided to list my favorite writing books. I participated in the National Novel Writing Month once . . . once. Yes, I completed my novel, but I can say with all honesty, getting as much outlining and characterization done ahead of time can make all the difference. Here’s a list of books I thought might help.
A Novel Idea Best Advice on Writing Inspirational Fiction by Jerry B. Jenkins, Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, and a host of other well known authors: This is the only craft book I read in 2014, but boy is it great. These authors collaborate to bring the reader articles on writing. The Fundamentals of Fiction section contains advice on writing plot, characters, and point of view. Section two is all about Developing Your Craft; section three is specifically geared toward Writing Christian Fiction and section four deals with Networking and Marketing. There is so much information in this book, it’s a must read for any aspiring Inspirational writer.
Break into Fiction by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love: I had the joy of attending an all-day workshop presented by Mary Buckham. I consider her an inspiring teacher, so it’s no surprise that I found her book thought-provoking. I love how this book asks questions at the end of each section and gives space to answer those questions. It really makes the reader think about what they’re writing. It’s great for helping Pansters like me actually do a bit of plotting.
The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders: If you need help with characterization this book will be an immense help. It breaks down characters into archetypes and describes what each type would be like. I like how this book uses characters from movies to demonstrate the traits in various character types.
Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.and E.B. White: This isn’t the biggest writing book on the block, but it’s packed with information on grammar and punctuation. These things are not my strong suit so referencing this book is a must for me.
Eleven Senses- Who Knew? by Marilyn Kelly: Like a sensory thesaurus for things like heat and sound, this is a book I refer to time and again. Within these pages is the most exhaustive list of colors I have found anywhere, as well as a multitude of synonyms for words like walk, said, and turn. It also includes words associated with temperature, balance and time. It’s an awesome resource for writers who need a “fresh” word to describe something in their manuscripts.
Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript by Cynthia Laufenberg: This book gives examples of what to do, and what not to do when presenting your manuscript to an agent and editor. It also gives sample cover letters, query letters, and book proposals for everything from screenplays, to children’s picture books, to poetry. This book is a must for the submission process.
[Romance-ology 101] Writing Romantic Tension for the Inspirational and Sweet Markets by Julie Lessman: If you’re someone who blushes as the mere hint of anything erotic, this book will help. I especially like the section on Appropriate “Bleep” Words for Inspirational Romance. There are lists of Mild Derogatory Names and Mild Expressions which I’ve referenced countless times. I also learned how to create passion between characters without being too graphic or tasteless.
On Writing by Stephen King: Okay, I haven’t finished this one, but given King’s talent as a writer it’s at the top of my list of books to complete. I do love his rags to riches story and find it very inspiring. There are several examples of his writing, complete with edits, which I find helpful.
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass: This is a very in-depth book for writers. There are whole chapters designated to Plot Techniques and Advanced Plot Structures. What I like is the workbook with various writing exercises, that accompanies Writing the Breakout Novel. This gives authors the opportunity to really think, and plot out, their book.
Writing the Christian Romance by Gail Gaymer Martin: One of the first craft books I read, it deals with exactly what I write, Christian romance. The chapters are very insightful, and give helpful advice, on weaving elements of faith into a romantic novel. The chapter on Point-of-View really helped me as a beginner.
Are you planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Do you have any craft of writing books that are helpful to you? What makes them beneficial to you as a writer?