Resolved: Be a Better Writer — A Book List
To celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas from now through Epiphany and to advocate for the idea of reading books to support New Year projects, resolutions, and goals, I’m writing a series of posts with themed book lists for various popular resolutions. So far…
Day 1: Be More Fit
Day 2: Be Happier
Day 3: Be a Better Cook
Day 4: Be Smarter about Money
Day 5: Be More Purposeful and Get Things Done
Day 6: Be More Creative
Day 7: Be a Better Reader
Writing books! There are so many books about writing that it’s hard to make a list because there are just too many to choose from. I’m going to make it easier by listing what I read last year and what I intend to read in the next few months.
The theme for my learning about writing in 2013 was about the structure of stories, how to pace out the main events to keep things moving along. These three books all added something to help me map out my story:
- Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
- The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
- 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt (it’s a book about characters, but there is a chapter about the feminine and masculine journeys that worked very well for me)
The theme for my reading about writing in early 2014 is emotion. How do I make my writing have a greater impact and effect on my readers? I have three books in my To Be Read stack on this topic. I’ve started all of them (I can tell by the post-it notes sticking out all over the place), but this year, I’m going to finish them. The first two were recommended by Alison Hawke of Quantum Tea, a local friend from the great NaNoWriMo community we have in St. Louis.
- Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers form the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron
- The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You’re Not by John Vorhaus
- Writing for Emotional Impact: Advanced dramatic techniques to attract, engage, and fascinate the reader from beginning to end by Karl Iglesias
What books have helped you become a better writer?
If you’re reading books to improve your writing in the new year (or for other goals, projects, and resolutions), join us at The New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge!
I found Crafting a Life by Donald Murray very helpful (see review at http://bibliographicmanifestations.blogspot.com/2013/04/notes-on-crafting-life.html)
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, simply because she gives the reader permission to write “crap.”
A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver is great for all writers. Whenever someone asks me how to write description I say “read poetry and at least try to write it” because poets manage to evoke so much in few words.
Writing Fiction from the Gothic Writers’ Workshop goes through the various elements of writing fiction–from characterization to dialogue to point of view.
I’m sure there are others but these are the three that came to mind first.
I liked Writing Down the Bones, too. I need to try A Poetry Handbook. I get so anxious about choosing the exact right word that I can get frozen with it.
It is almost with sadness that I read your list. MORE BOOKS! I made a list of the ones that I have that I haven’t read and could not believe that I had so many to read. And now you have added more! Really, I am thankful and look forward to hearing which ones you thought were really worthwhile.
I liked Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Stephen King’s On Writing very much.
I’ve always wanted to go more in-depth when it comes to the structure of certain types of writing. Good luck with your goal.
Stephen King’s On Writing is usually an annual re-read for me. I also like Elizabeth George’s Write Away, and David Morrell’s Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing. I’m so sad because I can’t find my copy of Save the Cat (it’s in a pile of books somewhere in the apartment, I know)!
I’m embarrassed to confess I haven’t thought about reading books to improve my writing. Thanks for the suggestions and the lists of book for other goals.
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