Reference Books for Writers

* Top Writing Books for Newer Writers 

** Author Favorites

** Ackerman, Angela and Becca Puglisi. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, 2nd Edition. JADD Publishing, 2019.

Alderson, Martha and Jordan Rosenfeld. Writing Deep Scenes: Plotting Your Story Through Action, Emotion, and Theme. Writer’s Digest Books, 2015. 

Bell, James Scott. Revision and Self-Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells, 2nd Edition. Writer’s Digest Books, 2012.

Bell, James Scott. How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript. Writer’s Digest Books, 2014.

*Bell, James Scott. Write Your Novel from the Middle

* Bickham, Jack.  Scene and Structure.  Writer’s Digest Books, 1999.

Bickham, Jack. The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes. Writer’s Digest Books, 1997.

Brody, Jessica. Save the Cat! Writes a Nove: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need. Ten Speed Press, 2018.

Brooks, Larry. Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction. Writer’s Digest Books, 2011.

Brooks, Larry. Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling. Writer’s Digest Books, 2011.

Bradbury, Ray. Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity. Joshua Odell, 1994.

*Brody, Jessica. Save the Cat Writes a Novel

* Browne, Renni and Dave King. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print, 2nd Edition. William Morrow Paperbacks, 2004.

Buckham, Mary. Writing Active Hooks: The Complete How-to Guide. Cantwell Publishing, LLC, 2017. 

* Buckham, Mary and Dianna Love. A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting: How to Enhance Your Fiction with More Descriptive, Dynamic Settings. Writer’s Digest Books, 2016.

* Buckham, Mary and Dianna Love. Break into Fiction: 11 Steps to Building a Story that Sells. Adams Media, 2009.

Card, Orson Scott. Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint. Writer’s Digest Books, 1999. 

* Cowden, Tami and Carolyn LaFever, Sue Viders. The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes. Archetype Press, 2013.

*Cron, Lisa. Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel. Ten Speed Press, 2016.

* Dixon, Debra.  Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction.  Gryphon Books for Writers, 1999. (Note: if you want the hardcover, go to the Gryphon Books website).

Field, Syd.  Screenplay:  The Foundations of Screenwriting, Revised Edition.  Delta, 2005.

Frey, James N. How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling. St. Martin’s Press, 2010.

Forster, E. M. Aspects of the Novel. Harcourt Publishing, 1927/1955.

Frey, James N. The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth. St. Martin’s Press, 2002.

*Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers. Vintage Books Edition, 1991.

*Hawkins, Libby. Take Off Your Pants!

*Hayes, Gwen. Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels. Self published, 2016.

Hough Jr., John. The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue: A Fresh Look at an Essential Ingredient of the Craft. Allworth, 2015.

Iglesias, Karl. Writing for Emotional Impact: Advanced Dramatic Techniques to Attract, Engage and Fascinate the Reader from Beginning to End. Wingspan Pres, 2011.

Lamb, Nancy. The Art and Craft of Storytelling: A Comprehensive Guide to Classic Writing Techniques. Writer’s Digest Books, 2008.

Lukerman, The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying out of the Rejection Pile. Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Maass, Donald. The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface. Writer’s Digest Books, 2016.

Maass, Donald. The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great. Writer’s Digest Books, 2009.

** Maass, Donald. Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level. Writer’s Digest Books, 2002.

** Maass, Donald. Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. Writer’s Digest Books, 2004.

*Marks, Dara. Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc

** McKee, Robert.  Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting.  Regan Books, 1997.

** Morrell, Jessica Page. Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing. Writer’s Digest Books, 2006.

Pressfield, Steven and Shawn Coyne. War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. Black Irish Entertainment, LLC, 2012.

Schmidt, Victoria Lynn. Story Structure Architect: A Writer’s Guide to Building Dramatic Situations and Compelling Characters. Writer’s Digest Books, 2005.

* Snyder, Blake. Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. Michael Wiese Productions, 2005. 

** Sokoloff, Alexandra. Screenwriting Tricks for Authors (and Screenwriters!): STEALING Hollywood: Story Structure Secrets for Writing You BEST Book. CreateSpace, 2015.

*Strunk, JR. and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, 4th Edition. Pearson, 1999.

** Swain, Dwight.  Techniques of the Selling Writer.  University of Oklahoma Press, 1982.

Truby, John. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

** Vogler, Christopher.  The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition.  Michael Wiese Productions, 2007.

Writer’s Digest, Editors. The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Sell Your Work, 3rd Edition. Writer’s Digest Books, 2017.