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28 Books to Help You Get a Grip on Writing


“28 Books to Help You Get a Grip on Writing” by Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards and Her Licensors

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards and Her Licensors

A writer reads, writes, revises, and submits his work to contests, publishers, editors, and agents. How does a writer get a grip on his writing? The more you read, the better your write. The more you write, the better you read. It goes in a wonderful circle.

To get a good grip on writing, writers write. However, I believe that if you read books in the following three categories, you grip on writing will tighten with skills and expertise. Your writing will improve in direct proportion as you both read and write. If you write and write and write. It will improve. However, I believe if you add the reading in the following categories, your writing will improve even more.

  1. Read 100 books that are best sellers, classics, and your personal favorites in the genre you plan to write.
  2. Read 100 books that empower you to believe you can do what you want…build on your belief system inside you.
  3. Read 100 books on the craft of writing that share the wisdom, skills, techniques, and experience of good teachers who are published and willing to share.

I believe all three kinds of books are essential. When you go to the library, choose one from each of these categories. Read, study, and take notes. Write using what you’ve learned.

I found the following 28 craft books to be extremely helpful resources to get a grip on writing. There are hundreds more out there. I also included links to three book lists from other souces.

References: Joan’s 28 Craft Books to Help You Get a Grip on Writing

  1. Andy Couturier. Writing Open the Mind-Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Open-Mind-Tapping-Subconscious/dp/B004JZWVOU/
  2. Angela Ackerman and Becca Publisi. The Emotion Thesaurus: http://www.amazon.com/Emotion-Thesaurus-Writers-Character-Expression/dp/1475004958/
  3. Carol Baldwin. Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Story-Fiction-Writing-Grades/dp/1934338354/
  4. Donald Maas. The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose Techniqueshttp://www.amazon.com/Fire-Fiction-Passion-Purpose-Techniques/dp/158297506X/
  5. Donald Maas. Writing the Breakout Novelhttp://www.amazon.com/Writing-Breakout-Novel-Donald-Maass/dp/158297182X/
  6. Donald Maas. Writing the Breakout Novel – Workbook: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Breakout-Novel-Workbook-Donald/dp/158297263X/
  7. Elaine Marie Alphin. Creating Characters Kids Will Love: http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Characters-Kids-Will-Love/dp/1582973695/
  8. Elizabeth Kochler-Pentacoff (compiled by). The ABCs of Writing for Children-114 Children’s Authors and Illustrators Talk about the Art, the business, the craft & the Life of Writing Children’s Literature: http://www.amazon.com/The-ABCs-Writing-Children-Illustrators/dp/1884956289/
  9. Harold D. Underdown and Lynne Rominger. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Publishing-Childrens-Edition/dp/1592577504/
  10. Heather Sellers. Page after Page-Discover the confidence & Passion you need to start writing & Keep writing (no matter what!): http://www.amazon.com/Page-after-Heather-Sellers/dp/158297618X/
  11. James Scott Bell. Plot & Structure: Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish: http://www.amazon.com/Plot-Structure-Techniques-Exercises-Crafting/dp/158297294X/
  12. James N. Frey. How to Write a Damn Good Novel: http://www.amazon.com/Write-Damn-Novel-Step—Step/dp/0312010443
  13. James N. Frey. How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II-Advanced Techniques For Dramatic Storytelling: http://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Damn-Good-Novel/dp/0312104782/
  14. James N. Frey. How to Write a Damn Good Mystery: http://www.amazon.com/Write-Damn-Mystery-Step—Step/dp/0312304463/
  15. Jeff Herman. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents-Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Overhttp://www.amazon.com/Hermans-Publishers-Editors-Literary-Agents/dp/1402271999
  16. Jordan Rosenfeld. Make a Scene-Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Timehttp://www.amazon.com/Make-Scene-Crafting-Powerful-Story/dp/1582974799/
  17. Karl Iglesias. Writing for Emotional Impact-Advanced Dramatic Techniques to Attract, Engage, and Fascinate Readershttp://www.amazon.com/Writing-Emotional-Impact-Techniques-Fascinate/dp/1595940286/
  18. Lajos Egri. The Art of Dramatic Writing: http://www.amazon.com/The-Dramatic-Writing-Lajos-Egri/dp/1434495434
  19. Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D. Writer’s Guide to Character Traits: http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Guide-Character-Traits-Edelstein/dp/1582973903
  20. Lou Willett Stanek, Ph.D. So You Want to Write a Novel: http://www.amazon.com/So-You-Want-Write-Novel/dp/038077688X/
  21. Margaret Lucke: Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories: http://www.amazon.com/Schaums-Quick-Guide-Writing-Stories/dp/0070390770/
  22. Nancy Lamb. The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children: http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Crafting-Stories-Children-library/dp/1582970521/
  23. Natalie Goldberg. Writing Down the Bones-Freeing the Writer within: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Down-Bones-Freeing-Paperback/dp/B0035A3PSQ/
  24. Noah Lukeman. The First Five Pages-A Writer’s Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile:” http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Five-Pages-Rejection/dp/068485743X
  25. Noah Lukeman. The Plot Thickens: http://www.amazon.com/Plot-Thickens-Ways-Bring-Fiction/dp/0312309287/
  26. Renni Brown and Dave King. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers-How to Edit Yourself Into Print: http://www.amazon.com/Self-Editing-Fiction-Writers-Second-Yourself/dp/0060545690
  27. Robert Brewer. The Writer’s Markethttp://www.amazon.com/2013-Writers-Market-Robert-Brewer/dp/1599635933
  28. Tracey E. Dils. You Can Write Children’s Books: http://www.amazon.com/You-Can-Write-Childrens-Books/dp/1582975736/

Other Lists of Writing Books

  1. Gotham Writers’ Workshop “Writers Resources:” http://www.writingclasses.com/WritersResources/resources.php
  2. Nicola Connolly. “My Novel Writing Book Basket:” http://whatsitallaboutandotherstories.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/my-novel-writing-book-basket/
  3. Poets & Writers.org. “Best Books for Writers;” http://www.pw.org/best-books-for-writers

Thank you for reading my blog. Leave a comment. Please share your favorite writing craft books with me.

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Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

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20 Responses

  1. Joan,
    Some of these books I have, I guess I better wipe the dust of them and read them. Thank you for writing this blog
    June

    Like

    • Dear June,
      Thanks for writing. Reading a book over again is good. You will catch something you didn’t notice the first time. Celebrate you and your love of writing.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  2. Great list of books to check out. I do have a few of them.

    Like

    • Dear Susanne,
      Thank you for writing. I am glad you think this is a great list of books to check out. It is great that you’ve already read a few. Perhaps scanning the summaries will help you find one that sparks your interest or a few related to what you’d like to learn right now. Celebrate you.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  3. Joan,
    I think you’re right, we need to read in all three categories mentioned here. Seems we all have a lot of reading to do!

    Like

    • Dear Linda,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you think that it is a good idea to read in all three categories: genre, inspiration, and craft and marketing. Enjoy your reading. Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  4. Thanks for another great list. I have most of them. 🙂

    Like

    • Dear Tracy,
      Thanks for writing. You are welcome for the list. I’m glad you like it. It is great that you’ve read most of them. Celebrate your love of writing and illustrating.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  5. Interesting list. It was fun comparing it to the shelf above my computer. A trick is remembering to access the books when you need them. I recently was volunteered to edit an anthology. First thing before I started–pulling out the books on editing and brushing up. It’s different when you know its your red pencil and noone else will save you.

    Thanks for the post. Helen

    Like

    • Dear Margaret,
      Thank you for writing. I bet you discovered you had many of the books on my list or books that teach the same skills. What an honor to be asked (volunteered) to edit an anthology! Brushing up on your knowledge and skills is a sign that you are the right person for the job. I wish you good luck. May all you need be there for you.

      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  6. Thanks, Joan. Great list to add to our resources.

    Blessings,
    Jean

    Like

    • Dear Jean,
      Thank you very much for writing. You are very welcome. I’m glad you think it’s a great list to add to your resources. Celebrate you and all you do to help gather great people together.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  7. Thanks for sharing, Joan. I have a few of them and will look into some others!

    Like

    • Dear Karen,
      Thanks for writing. I knew you would have some of them. Hope the others capture your eyes to meet a need of yours.

      Celebrate you and your ability to find ways to market books.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  8. Thanks for including Teaching the Story!

    Like

    • Dear Carol,
      You are very welcome. Your book “Teaching the Story” is a great resource for writers, as well as writing teachers. Celebrate you and your ability to explain things clearly and creatively.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  9. Yippeee. I have 4 new books to read. Thank you.

    Like

    • Dear Kristina,
      I love you and your joyful spirit. Thank you for writing. I’m glad you found 4 new books to read. Which 4 are you going to read?

      Do something fun today!
      Never Give Up
      Joan

      Like

      • I got Making A Scene, The Plot Thickens, Story Engineering,and Emotional Impact. Now which one to read first? I love learning and finding better ways to write. I worked out with my girlfriend beside a river. That was my fun activity today.

        Like

        • Dear Kristina,
          Oh my goodness! You are all set for a while. I’m reading “Saving the Cat” right now by Blake Snyder. What he writes about screenwriting will also help with writing novels.
          Glad you were able to workout with a friend who lives close byl
          Enjoy!
          Never Give Up
          Joan

          Like

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