Many of us will spend at least two weeks in December
hiding from our children with our nose in a book. At The Winged Pen, our wish lists are full of books that inspire our creativity or deepen our craft. So here’s a peek at the writing books we loved and the books we hope to receive this holiday season. If you have a writer on your gift list, you might just find the perfect gift below:
Rebecca: Story Engineering by Larry Brooks pushed my writing to the next level. It impressed upon me the importance of plot points in the structure of a story. Moreover, I love the framework it uses for tying your main character’s arc to the plot points so they are learning and growing into a hero over the course of the book, and their heroic win at the climax is earned.
And Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole is next on my TBR list.
Julie: My favorite discovery this year was definitely Lisa Cron’s Story Genius. We teach this method to writers at Author Accelerator and I now use it every time I plan a new book or story.
And I’m hoping that I’ll get to read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg sometime soon because so many of my writing pals have recommended it!!!
Laurel: Libbie Hawker’s Making It In Historical Fiction is a very straightforward discussion of tropes in historical fiction.
Lately, I keep finding myself turning back to Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, Writing More of What You Love.
Note: Another Penny pointed out that you could read the transcript of the speech King gave when he was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American letters, which is like a condensed version of On Writing.
And Story Genius is on my Christmas list! [See, I might have been evangelizing it just a wee bit–Julie]
Sussu: I love The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke, absolutely fabulous. I love the way he tells us to write the first chapter as a short story independent of the main story. Light bulb moment!
On my wish list, I have The Magic Words by Cheryl B. Klein.
Karin: I love Story Genius and Story Engineering, but as they have been already accounted for, I will add one that isn’t heard about so much but had a big impact on me: From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler. He brings his former experience as an actor to the writing process and calls it “method writing.” Writing is about dreaming your way into the character and the scene and feeling the underlying yearning.
Michelle: The Plot Whisperer was the perfect companion read for a PlotWriMo class I once took on revision. The book is a bit philosophical, which appealed to me, and I highly recommend it because of Martha Alderson’s thorough explanation of how to integrate plot with character transformation.
I’m a fan of Matt Bird’s Cockeyed Caravan blog for writers, and I’m excited about his new craft book The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers.
Gita: My favorite take-away from Robert McKee’s Story is his “principle of antagonism,” which is guaranteed to deepen and complicate your WIP.
Still Writing by Dani Shapiro is for my wish-list for writing craft and wisdom.
Jessica: Writing The Breakout Novel & The Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass. The workbook is a terrific resource to turn to when you’ve completed one or more rounds of revising and know your story needs work but can’t figure out what’s missing.
And I’m planning to read Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins next.
Kristi: I love Plot vs Character because I can never write my first draft from both perspectives. Once my first draft is done, I crack open this book to the page where the author has made a two sided map showing how the emotional plot and the action plot ebb, flow and merge. It’s magic!
And I want Cheryl Klein’s The Magic Words.
Readers, what craft books are on your must-read or holiday wish lists? Weigh in via a comment below–we always need more recommendations when it comes to craft books!