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Five Favorite Craft Books

Since JaNoWriMo is wrapping up and many of you will be jumping into edits soon, I thought I’d share five of my favorite craft books.

“Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.”
― Neil Gaiman

1.) The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke

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The craft of writing is filled with various debates: Should I include a prologue? Should I delete all adverbs from my manuscript? Just how much backstory–if any–can I include in my story? These questions–and their often-contradictory answers–can cause confusion, frustration, and even paralysis in the writer.

The Irresistible Novel frees you from the limits of so-called “rules” and instead provides you with a singular goal: You must engage your readers from beginning to end. Filled with down-to-earth discussions on the various debates of writing, as well as innovative research on neuroscience and reader response, this book shows you how to:

  • Navigate the various debates on writing fiction–showing versus telling, purple prose, outlining, writing description, and more–to decide what kind of novelist you want to be.
  • Hack your reader’s brain to hook her interest and trigger emotional engagement from the very first page.
  • Incorporate enduring elements of storytelling from masters like Joseph Campbell, Aristotle, and Carl Jung.

Readers want to be swept away by your stories. When you eschew the rules and focus on your readers’ desires, you’re free to write truly irresistible fiction.- Description from Amazon

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”― Thomas Mann

2.) Storyworld First by Jill Williamson

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The question I hear most from beginners about building a fantasy storyworld is, “Where do I start?” Oz, Wonderland, Narnia, the 100 Acre Wood, Neverland, Hogwarts, the United Federation of Planets, Westeros, Middle Earth, Alagaesia, Terabithia, Gotham City, Jurassic Park, Fablehaven, and a galaxy far, far away. These fictional places have become real in the minds and hearts or readers. These storyworlds that someone invented—someone who was once like you, learning to tell stories, learning to write, and dreaming about publishing a novel. Whether you’re starting from scratch or are looking to add depth to a finished story, Storyworld First will get you thinking. Includes tips for worldbuilding: Astronomy * Magic * Government Map making * History * Religion Technology * Languages * Culture And how it all works together.- Description from Amazon

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
― Stephen King

3.) The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

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One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them. This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.– Description from Amazon

I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. ”― Joss Whedon

4.) Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

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Let outlines help you write a better book!

Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal.- Description from Amazon

“So what? All writers are lunatics!”― Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

5.) Stein On Writing by Sol Stein

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Your future as a writer is in your hands. Whether you are a newcomer or an accomplished professional, a novelist, story writer, or a writer of nonfiction, you will find this book a wealth of immediately useful guidance not available anywhere else. As Sol Stein, renowned editor, author, and instructor, explains, “This is not a book of theory. It is a book of useable solutions– how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place.”- Description from Amazon

“I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which ‘Escape’ is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”― J.R.R. Tolkien

Have a great rest of the week! 🙂

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About Brittany Valentine

Saved by grace, sibling one of eight, part-timer by day, speculative fiction writer by night. Working on a series called The Chronicles of Aura.

2 comments on “Five Favorite Craft Books

  1. Thank you for the craft resources and the encouragement to keep writing to share the world that lives in our hearts.

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