I wanted to list the top ten books that really helped me as a writer. I am either currently reading them or I have read them. For all of you writers out there interested in bettering your writing, here is my top ten list, in no particular order.
1. “Wired for Story” and “Story Genius” by Lisa Cron
I had to include both of them in one item because they cover a lot of the same things but are both great helper books to understand what makes good writing. Lisa Cron talks about the neuroscience behind good stories and how you can use it to craft your novels. She talks about the difference between story and plot and gives all sorts of helpful tips throughout both books. The neuroscience is easy to understand (although I may not be the best judge of that, to be honest) and it is full of little exercises to try that will cement your story in your brain.
2. “Fire Up Your Writing Brain” by Susan Reynolds
This one is a little heavier on the neuroscience explanations but is still fascinating. It gives you explanations of how to figure out how to train your brain to write using neural pathways. Basically, it uses the theory that the more often you use a certain way of thinking or sequence of thoughts (a neural pathway) then the more it becomes second nature. It is basically a way to train your brain to be more original, more creative and more productive when writing.
3. The “Now Write!” Series
This series is written by prominent authors in different genres. They give prompts and tips throughout the writing process from generating ideas, planning, plotting, characters and setting to revision, they cover it all. They are short chapters with prompts at the end that are easy to read and fun to try. This series comes genres such as non-fiction, screenwriting, fiction, mystery, and a compilation of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Super quick reads but packed full of good information.
4. “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer
This book is just fun. It is filled with bunches of writing exercises to quick start your creativity in a fun, colorful, illustrated format. What can else can I say? It’s a lot like a kid’s activity book, but for writers of all ages. It is super fun and entertaining just to flip through it.
5. “Blogging for Writers” by Robin Houghton
This book steps you through the process of starting a blog to use as an author platform. It is one I haven’t read all the way through yet, and I started a blog before I got the book, but it is full of helpful tips for setting up your blog and getting it to look the way you want and have the features you want. It gives you step by step instructions for two platforms: WordPress and Blogger. It gives you things to consider before starting your blog and tips for all sorts of stuff.
6. “How I Write” by Janet Evanovich
Written in a Q and A format this book is quick and easy to read as well as very informative. She answers all of the questions from her fans and gives lots of information on how she writes, the publishing industry, and a bunch of other topics. A very helpful book for beginning writers.
7. “45 Master Characters” by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
This book gives examples of the different personalities in literature and their respective character arcs. They show common personality flaws for that type of character and different aspects that make your character more believable.
8. “20 Master Plots” by
9. “The Positive Trait Thesaurus” and “The Negative Trait Thesaurus” and “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
These give character traits and how that character would react in common situations if that had that trait. It lists other traits that go along with the main trait and how that trait could be both an asset and a curse. They list each trait in easy to read and navigate, 2-3 page entries. The emotion one lists typical physical reactions to different emotions as a way to “show” instead of “tell”.
10. “The Describer’s Dictionary” by David Grambs
This book lists different and unique ways to describe things. It lists things in categories such as “colors” or “shapes” and uses lots of unique words that can be useful or pretentious. It’s fun to look through if you feel like describing something in a way no one will understand but has lots of useful entries that can spice up your writing
And that is my top ten list of books for writers. I have found these books helpful to me in all stages of my writing process. If you’ve read any of these, tell me what you think! Did I miss any books? Let me know in the comments!