Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Writer Wednesday - Favorite Books on Craft

I will never stop learning the craft of writing, and for that, I'm grateful. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books, and many more I want to buy. I wanted to talk about my favorite books--the ones I find myself reading often.

The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler is a tremendously helpful book about storytelling. Vogler takes Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey and modifies it for writing. This book covers the three act structure. From The Writer's Journey: Act One covers: Ordinary World, Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call, Meeting with the Mentor, and Crossing the First Threshold. Act Two covers: Tests, Allies, Enemies, Approach to the Inmost Cave, Ordeal, and the Reward. Act Three covers: The Road Back, Resurrection, and the Return with the Elixir.

Writing Fiction A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway is a book I used in one of my graduate classes. It's a bit pricey, but I've found this book to be full of valuable information on the craft of fiction writing. Since it is used as a textbook, topics are covered in great detail. There are a lot of writing exercises as well.

The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass is probably my favorite book (and relatively inexpensive). This book is full of exercises, examples, and information. It's a quick read, but the knowledge stays with you.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass is another fabulous book.

Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell is my second favorite. This book covers how to plot your novel and structure it to tell a great story. Another one I highly recommend.

These are a few of my favorites on writing. I'm going to do another blog post on books on editing since I have a ton of those as well.

What are some of your favorite books on the craft of writing?


  1. I love the Donald Maas books, and have notes I often refer to from The Writer's Journey. Another book I've found helpful and motivational is Stephen King's On Writing.

  2. I totally spaced and forgot about that one, Tonia! Thanks for brining it up :) I do enjoy that one. Another one I forgot about is Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. There are just so many!! And tons more. I love discovering new ones (and older ones!)

  3. I've heard amazing things about Donald Maass's book. I have a few books on craft, but I haven't picked one up in a while. I'm thinking I should now.

  4. My favorite is Steven King's On Writing. A complete inspiration!

  5. Donald Maass is fabulous! I highly recommend both of those books.

    On Writing is another good one :) I have it as well. I don't use it for reference as much as I use it for inspiration.

  6. I have the Donald Maass book on breakout fiction(in storage right now), and I've been through it once for one book I'm still working on (only delayed because of circumstances). This MAASS book is awesome. It made me go deeper and deeper, and then deeper still. And gave me ideas that I never even thought about, for characters, for scenes, for action. Wonderful book. I've heard alot about Bell, though I do not have any of his books, yet.