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Favorite Books on Writing

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    What books on writing would you recommend?

    Techniques of the Selling Writer – Dwight V. Swain

    I really think everyone should read it. What are your thoughts?


    Sharra S

    I found Stephen King’s “On Writing (2000)” had some good ideas/pointers.



    Agreed. πŸ™‚


    Jean Lauzier

    Now we’re talking my favorite subject. I LOVE books on writing. I have a bookcase full of them.

    Write Tight is one of my favorites…
    Breakout Novel by Maass is another fav. I actually retyped the workbook that goes with it and had it bound so I could use it for each novel.
    The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler is probably my all time, will never get rid of writing book. I really think every writer
    should read this one.
    Ohhhh…Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
    For bad guys I really like Bullies, Bastards & Bitches

    I could go on and on and on and on…:-)



    Oh man. I feel the urge to buy new books. I read Plot & Structure. Awesome book too.

    Write Tight sounds right up my alley, but who can pass up a book called Bullies, Bastards & Bitches?

    I’m so headed to Amazon now.


    Jean Lauzier

    Another of my favorites is Deadly Doses – a writer’s guide to poisons. I love leaving it laying around when I have company. πŸ™‚



    Thanks for the suggestions πŸ˜€ I was thinking of getting the one on writing the breakout novel, but decided against it for some reason or another *shrugs*

    Plot and Structure (James Scott Bell-yeah, that was a real good one, Jean! :D)

    Writing Great Young Adult Fiction for Dummies (don’t remember name at moment…but she does deareditor.com)

    The Art of War for Writers (james Scott Bell)

    And I’ve recently ordered Larry Brook’s Story Engineering πŸ˜€



    Chaiaki – I was thinking about getting Story Engineering the other
    day. Let me know how it is. I’m still thinking about it.

    Jean – I’d love to come to your house for dinner. πŸ˜‰

    So how do you guys retain everything that you read? That’s like my biggest issue. I’ve read so many books on writing but I don’t retain nearly as much as I need.



    I find reading about what you shouldn’t do is sometimes of more use than the art of writing. Which is why I recommend this book:

    How NOT to write a novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs If You Ever Want to Get Published

    Then two more to read after that:

    How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead: Your Words in Print and Your Name in Lights – Ariel Gore

    Art of Writing Fiction – Andrew Cowan



    My favorite books on writing are : Aspects of the Novel by EM Forster, The Art of Dramatic Writing by Egri, and Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. I’ve read dozens of others by these have always been my go-to books on writing.


    Jean Lauzier

    I’m not sure if we (I at least) can remember everything I read about how to write. I read and reread my favorite books and try to pick up something new each time.

    Many times I’ve gone back and read something and gone “Wow, now I remember this…”



    OMG this is the thread for me! I LOVE books on writing. I have an entire little bookshelf dedicated to books on writing.

    I second Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. Like Jean, I typed up all the exercises so I could use them for every single book I write. I also own Maass’s other books, The Fire in Fiction is especially helpful. It’s the same format as WTBN but it’s new and interesting points. (if you follow Maass on Twitter he also likes to Tweet breakout tips).

    I also second everything by James Scott Bell. He’s great. I love Plot and Structure the best.

    I also second Bullies, Bastards, and Bitches by Jessica Page Morrell, as well as anything else by her. It’s this great book on how to write anti-heroes and villains really well. Even if anti-heroes aren’t your thing, I think every writer would find some use from this book because Morrell talks about the moral continuum.

    Hmmm, something new to offer up….

    *Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyons. This is a great “workshop” type book for revision. It has lots of little exercises that you can apply to your rough draft right away. I find it very helpful.

    *Scene and Structure by Jack M. Bickham. It’s very, very detailed and took me a few read throughs to absorb it all, but man did it help me with scene writing.

    Xaenyth: (LOVE LOVE LOVE your userpic) I retain what I read by using it as a reference and occasionally making notes of the really important stuff.

    Something that also helps is I didn’t get an entire bookshelf of books on writing overnight. You just can’t absorb that much info at once. So when I struggled with a certain aspect, like structure for example, I researched books on writing that focused on structure. I also re-read books I already owned that contained stuff on structure. I find I retain the information the best if it’s current to what I am working on.


    Kenra Daniels

    Self-Editing For Fiction Writers – Dave King
    Writing Fiction For All You’re Worth – James Scot Bell

    I have a few others, but these are my favorites, ones I refer to time and again.


    Cathy Franklin

    The book I find that helps me the most and I refer to it the most is called – Make Every Word Count by Gary Provost. Another good one is – The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray



    elizabeth – Thank you! πŸ™‚

    I’m looking at your list right now. Do think there’s much of a difference between the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook and the regular book? I’m checking out Amazon and trying to figure out which one to buy.

    I’m not going to be able to quit my day job anytime soon if I keep buying all these books. πŸ˜‰

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