Don’t make the mistake of believing that books about the craft of writing are solely for aspiring authors. Readers who peruse how-to books for writers gain an understanding of the complex make-up of novels. And once you’ve learned to read between the lines, you’ll get even more enjoyment from sitting down with an artfully crafted book.
Whether you’re in a book club and want to read more critically or you’re studying the advice of the masters before writing the next blockbuster, several writing books stand out as worthwhile.
Story by Robert McKee
Although written primarily for screenwriters, Story is a fascinating read. Mr. McKee helps us see past the glitter of Hollywood and into the heart of his craft. He explains the elements that give a story substance, analyzes scene design, and discusses character arcs and character function. Story is a must-read for every aspiring writer, and readers who pick it up will be thoroughly entertained.
The Writer’s Journey – Mythic Structure for Writers
by Christopher Vogler
In the introduction to his book, Mr. Vogler presents a simple idea: “All stories consist of a few common elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies.” He proceeds to show us how the techniques of ancient storytellers are still guiding us today and how character archetypes we love and recognize are rooted in the collective unconscious of the human race.
Readers may be satisfied with the insight gained from the two books above. If you’re serious about a writing career, continue on to the next three.
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain
A comprehensive manual on craft by a wonderful teacher.
GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict – The Building Blocks of Good Fiction
By Debra Dixon
The basics of character and plot development that every fiction writer must understand.
Story Engineering – Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing
by Larry Brooks
My now you may have noticed that I’m a plot and structure devotee. Many of the ideas presented in this book took a while to sink in, but when they did, I felt as if I’d discovered a gold mine. Mr. Brooks takes The Writer’s Journey to the next level. After reading his book, you’ll never have to ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?” again.
Enjoy these books. Hundreds more are available, and my choices are subjective, of course. If you have a favorite, please comment and share.