Over the last few years, Becca and I have read many writing books together, sharing our impressions and insights on each via email. It’s been a wonderful way to learn more about writing and often if one of us became unclear on a particular concept, the other would be able to offer the missing key that clarified it into an Ah-ha! moment.
Looking at my bookshelf, I mulled over which books on writing I just couldn’t live without. Here are my favs:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Renni Browne & Dave King) This one is literally my bible when I revise. My copy is pretty banged up from use, and I can’t say enough good about it.
Description (Monica Wood). Again, this book has helped me immensely. Vivid and relevant description and how to get it across to the reader through setting, central metaphors and language choices makes it a fantastic book. This book really delves into Showing and telling and how (and when) to do each effectively. I reread this book often.
On Writing (Stephen King) I am a great admirer of Stephen King. I see him as a master at his craft and so much more than ‘that horror writer.’ I like the autobiographical nature of this book and seeing how he’s drawn from his own life experiences to create incredible circumstances from ordinary life events and characters. I find his tell-it-as-it-is style refreshing and his story inspirational.
Writing the Breakout Novel (Donald Maass) This book is a must-have for anyone struggling with adding tension and high stakes to your story. He’s a firm believer on having conflict on every page, and he shows you how to do it. Incidentally, if you ever get a chance to hear Donald Maass speak at a conference, GO. He’s amazing in person as well.
So what are your I-can’t-live-without-this-writing-aid books? Tell us your favorites and why!
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.