Top 10 Book Picks

by Rebecca Ann Jordan
published in Reading

To finish off our lists of favorites before tomorrow’s Blog Party, we’ve put together one last list: Top Book Picks. Every writer needs a personal library but even if you don’t have these books on your shelf, browsing a library or bookstore can be the next best thing. Next time you have a severe writer’s block, check out one of these titles. It should spark the creative artist inside you!

Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt: The definitive 30-day book for novelists. With helpful workbook pages, you can brainstorm characters, plan your 3-act outline, and get that first draft written in a month. Even if you don’t plan to write a whole book in a month, the worksheets and information in this book is invaluable.

The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley: A fun book of writing exercises for all fiction writers (especially those who are usually ruled by their muse). The exercises will stretch your imagination and break through your writer’s block, making you think about your writing in fresh, new ways.

The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda Edelstein: Every human trait ever compiled in this volume. It covers characteristics of children ages 0-20, careers, the family, disorders, traumas, criminal types, and more.  You could create your next character solely from this book!

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg: Great tips on the writing life. More specifically, it will teach you how to write every day, technical aspects of writing style, and how to survive your own self-doubt. You will be inspired to continue living creatively!

The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell: More than your average writing book. Taking Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as an example, Bell instructs writers how to go to war with their craft at their side. You will learn about your craft, the industry, and how to negotiate your own insecurities in order to become a better writer.

Writing Fiction by the Gotham Writer’s Workshop: A great reference book on writing fiction. Each chapter is devoted to one of the many different facets of fiction (character, plot, setting, point of view, etc), and there are classic examples of each accompanied by exercises.

Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within by Kim Addonizio: Part memoir, part celebration of the writing life, this book invites readers to explore what they believe in, what their creative vision is and what could be. Addonizio encourages you to pursue publishing in the face of pitfalls.

Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola: A guide for nonfiction writers everywhere! The book covers some practical advice on where creative nonfiction is going, as well as exercises and tips on how to write memoir, lyric and personal essays, art reviews, new journalism (reportage) and more.

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder: A wonderful book about the craft and business of screenwriting. You’ll learn the 15 beats of a script, how to make your story great through character archetypes, and how to navigate the waters of the screenwriting industry. Even if you don’t write screenplays, this book can be an great resource.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster: How to read more closely and, for writers, how to write great literature in turn for others to read. This book has chapters about what weather changes mean (Is rain a bad thing? Or does it symbolically cleanse the hero?), what it means when a hero eats a meal or visits his home, and what various creatures and colors can mean symbolically.

Tomorrow is Friday. You know what that means – it’s party time! Bring your favorite writing resource to the party.  Share it with us–be it website, twitter feed, writing conference, print book or ebook or magazine–and help us create the Best. Resource. List. Ever!



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