I’m constantly evolving as a writer and that is never more true than the times I find myself wokring on a new outline or a tough revision instead of writing new words. That is when I turn to the collection of craft books on my shelves for help.
While there are many incredible resources out there for writing, editing and publishing support, these are the five books that I tend to refer to most often. In no particular order, here are five writing books I think every writer needs to read:
SAVE THE CAT WRITES A NOVEL by Jessica Brody
You’ve probably heard about this one already as so many writers credit this method with helping them to outline. Originally meant for screenwriters, Brody adapted the “Save the Cat” method for novel writing and breaks down the process into fifteen recognizable beats. As a former die-hard pantser that is learning to love the plotting process, Brody’s story beat structure is my preferred go-to when I start outlining. It gives me a roadmap to follow as a write but lets me take a few detours along the way.
BEFORE AND AFTER A BOOK DEAL by Courtney Maum
This book is a must read for any writer no matter what your book deal status. Maum shares a ton of great insider information and lays it out in a way that makes it easy to find the part that applies to your current publication process status. Also, she’s funny. Really funny.
STORY GENIUS by Lisa Cron
I love the way the author approaches the brain science behind outlining and she gives tasks at the end of every section help you work the advice into your own story. Those tasks helped me tackle a tricky overhaul of an outline for a book I loved the idea of but just couldn’t figure out how to make it work. Now it’s working and this book is why.
INTUITIVE EDITING by Tiffany Yates Martin
I’ve raved about this one for months because it has totally changed the way I approach revisions. Martin breaks the process into macro and micro edits and then walks you through how to tackle each step. As she is both a published author and developmental editor, Martin is able to share perspective from both sides of the business. This book was an absolute game changer for me.
WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass
In this well-known craft book from successful literary agent Donald Maass, you learn (pretty much) everything you need to know about making sure your novel breaks out from the rest. I really like how Maass uses examples from both classic and contemporary novels to show exactly how those authors elevated their writing and how to apply that knowledge to your own books. Every novelist should have this on their shelf.
Reading these craft books has, without a doubt, made me a better writer in so many different areas and I’m so grateful to all of these industry professionals for sharing their insights and expertise. Now if only they could write my synopsis for me.
So these are my trusty guides, what are your go-to faves when it comes to writing craft?