Happy weekend, bookwyrms! If you want to learn more about writing but don’t know where to begin, it’s easy to get discouraged. However, I’ve got a list of 9 resources that are perfect for learning more about writing at your own pace!
Some on this list are books that I’ve been reading and re-reading since I was little, and some are newly discovered. Whether you’ve heard of them before or they’re completely new to you, each one is distinct and useful in their own way. Hopefully, you’ll find you new favorite writing resource (or are inspired to re-read an old one)!
1. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
You may have heard of Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, the popular screenwriting book series. Now, Save the Cat! is back with a manual for novelists written by author Jessica Brody.
The book covers a wide variety of writer-ly topics, including but not limited to: outlining, revising, what to do when faced with writer’s block, and, my personal favorite, “fixing” a broken novel. I’m so happy that Brody and Save the Cat! decided to help out novelists as well as screenwriters. I definitely recommend reading this one!
2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Stephen King is the KING of scary writing…and writing in general. In this memoir, King recounts memories from childhood, emerging as a writer, and various life experiences that impacted his writing career.
Maybe not your typical “craft” book, King’s memoir is still eye-opening and inspiring, and there’s so much to learn from this writing master.
3. Writer’s Craft book series by Rayne Hall
There are several books in this series covering a wide variety of topics, from writing fight scenes to settings to scary scenes to POV to dialogue to villains to…well, you get the picture. The bottom line is that Rayne Hall has several books for you, each one dedicated to a specific aspect of writing. There’s even one outlining how to use Twitter as a writer.
Rayne Hall is also the author of Thirty Scary Tales, a collection of previosuly-published creepy horror stories. If you love all things scary, this might also be a good book to check out!
4. Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
When I was little, I would go to the library and find the small but exciting reference section. There, I grabbed as many writing craft books as I could carry and read them cover-to-cover. This is one of my first and definitely one of my favorites. I still own a copy today.
I can’t tell you how essential this book was to my early learning. It’s got everything you could ever want to know in neatly laid-out sections. From the accomplished author of Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card, this book mixes personal anecdotes with writing advice and knowledge. I highly recommend this book for both beginning and advanced writers.
5. On Writing and Worldbuilding, Vol. 1 by Timothy Hickson
If you’re at all familiar with the book or analysis section of YouTube, then you might also be familiar with a channel called HelloFutureMe. The creator of the channel, Timohty Hickson, goes in-depth about certain aspects of writing, including fight scenes, writing the first chapter, and more. The channel also boasts a vast library of analyses, the most prominent of which are videos about Avatar: The Last Airbender.
This book includes all the information from these various educational videos, as well as extra tidbits, and organizes them in an easy-to-read volume. Even if you’ve never seen a single HelloFutureMe video, this book will help you understand the ins and outs of writing and worldbuilding.
6. The Nighttime Novelist: Finish Your Novel in Your Spare Time by Joseph Bates
Whether you’re a full-time student, working a full-time job, or just too busy to write the novel you’ve been thinking about for a long time…well, what if I told you that you have the time and the motivation after all?
The Nighttime Novelist is a manual for the busy writer. I discovered this book during one of my routine trips to the library, and its lessons stayed with me throughout college. Bates walks the reader through tips and tricks to help you write a novel in your spare time.
7. Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer
I can’t believe I never heard of this book until my senior year in college. My adviser recommended Wonderbook for one of my writing projects, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It’s a must-read for every sci-fi/fantasy writer, combining gorgeously strange and otherworldly illustrations with information on worldbuilding and character through deepest imagination.
I’ve never read a more beautiful writing craft book. It has enough illustrations to feed your imagination for a long time to come, and each section is organized neatly for convenience and easy reading. Do check it out if you haven’t yet!
8. A Writer’s Guide to Characterization: Archetypes, Heroic Journeys, and Other Elements of Dynamic Character Development by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
Characterization is obviously an important part of fiction. A Writer’s Guide to Characterization provides a vast list of character archetypes to choose from and create variants with, a helpful and informative reference. Complete with named archetypes, tropes, and other tactics for characterization, this guide will help you create a unique and compelling character for whatever story you’re writing.
This is another book that I discovered in the tiny writing section in my childhood library. I fell in love with all the character choices, and my little mind was blown by the fact that I could even combine character archetypes for a completely new and complicated MC for my story. I highly recommend this one!
9. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Storytelling Master by John Truby
Many writers have read or at least are meaning to read The Anatomy of Story. The reason? It’s an incredibly valuable writing craft book. Although originally meant for writing screenplays, Truby’s book and the information within can be applied to novels as well.
Combining philosophy, mythology, and other sources, Truby breaks down the anatomy of story and explains it in a way that’s engaging and understandable. Each technique is useful and specific and is easily applicable to writers of all genres.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash