Because good writers read… and continue to read… and learn… and grow… I wholly encourage you to be a reader and become better at your craft by design.
If you’re serious about story writing, I recommend you get these books and resources.
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One of my favorite BOOKS…
After reading and marking up my hard copy, I’m now listening to this gem for the third time. It’s fantastic — full of expertise for beginning through advanced writers. If you’re serious about being a story writer, I wholeheartedly recommend that you get it and read it (or listen to it) now.
Here’s a link to the paperback.
Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies,
by Sol Stein
(It’s also on Audible.)
Arguably the Best Online COURSES
(For All Writers): Get “My Story Doctor” Courses…
This treasure trove of top-tier online courses by the legendary story consultant/author David Farland are the courses that, aside from my MFA in Genre Fiction, have made the most impact on my writing EH-VAH. I can’t recommend these enough. “Run — don’t walk” — to get them here.
BOOKS on How to Craft Perfect Plot and Shore Up your Structure…
Here are some books that are so good, I use them in my online fiction writing courses.
A must-read for all story writers, this book outlines “The Hero’s Journey” (the “one storyline,” according to Joseph Campbell’s research, “that all good story follows”) and the major archetypes (character models/types) that readers have come to love and expect in story. This must-have knowledge will put you eons ahead of the rest, and if you work with me in any way in coaching, I ask that you read this book first.
Here’s another book worth its weight in gold. This book, penned by a Hollywood screenwriter, is great in helping to understand the “beats” — those expected plot points that drive a story forward. You’ll also find special how-to story-creation tidbits that, if implemented, will help you get raving-fan readers.
Want to grab readers right away? Get this book, to learn how. The beginning of the book, in particular, is quite good.
Want to create a page-turner that people won’t put down? Get the book on WONDER by multi-published story consultant David Farland (Dave Wolverton) — the guy who recommended to the publisher that Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone be put on the front burner and marketed, who started out/coached bestselling authors Brandon Sanderson (Stormlight Archives, Mistborn Saga, and more) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga), Hollywood consultant, worldwide consultant and speaker… you get the picture. A powerful book, highly recommended.
Writing Wonder, By David Farland
The best BOOKS (imho) on How to Build Conflict…
This book is still one of my all-time favorites. Donald Maass, you’re my conflict-building hero.
Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level, by Donald Maass
For Serious Writers…
This book is a collection of subject-specific “essays” on writing by masters at the craft. Some of the chapters here are fabulous. I have an MFA, and I agree… a lot of what’s here is eye-opening to the writing becoming serious at learning the craft.
An Audio Book for Beginners…
If you’re just starting out, here’s a course on Audible by James Scott Bell that’s simple, practical, and clear. You can get the recording on Audible.
If you want a strong outline of the basics of fiction writing, here’s the link:
How to Write Best-Selling Fiction,
by James Scott Bell
For All Novel and Story Writers…
My favorite secrets to writing are found here in John Gardner’s book. In not-too-many pages, you’ll find truths as to what makes a good writer — including secrets to creating memorable characters, writing in an “emotionally significant” style, creating a “conscious dream” for the reader, and (my favorite section) understanding and using the rhythm and sound of the written word. Not expensive and worth every penny.
Screenwriters, Television Writers, and Big-Series Writers…
Check out this online article, “Best Screenwriting Courses and Books to Get You Started” by Alex Edge (Dec. 2021) — I’m all in on these resources.
And for the business end of breaking into Hollywood, check this out: Conquering Hollywood: The Screenwriter’s Blueprint for Career Success, by Gary W. Goldstein
The Habits of a Writer…
Finally, here are some all-around good-to-get books for creating the habits of a great writer…
Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones,
By James Clear