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4 Books to Give You Aha Moments in Writing

Image Copyright © 2014  Joan Y. Edwards

Image Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

“Aha Moments in Writing” by Joan Y. Edwards

Get out your favorite book on how to write. Which one(s) gave you an “Aha Moment” in writing? Here are four books on the craft of writing that I highly recommend because they gave me several “aha” moments while reading them. I know they will offer wonderful learning opportunities for you, too.

  1. James N. Frey. How to Write a Damn Good Novel: http://www.amazon.com/Write-Damn-Novel-Step—Step/dp/0312010443

James N. Frey explains in an easy to read and comprehend voice. It’s easy to learn the writing process with his book. He teaches you how to tell a story and how to correct problems. He asks, “What are you trying to prove about human nature?” He explains Egri’s theory that a premise is character, conflict, and conclusion. He explains how to choose the right viewpoint for telling your story. He tells when to use flashbacks and when to leave them out. He gives several ways to gain benefits from a critique group. He shows you with examples of premise and dialogue using popular stories and movies. He also shows you by making up a character or story right before your eyes.

2.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/

Impresses upon writers the importance of presenting the emotions of the characters for readers to relate to on a personal level and shows you how to do it. I think following the reading of this book by the reading of the Emotion Thesaurus, or vice versa is a good plan.

  1. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. The Emotion Thesaurus

This book gives you body language for different emotions. It tells you how to show the emotions in body movements, and how people might be feeling inside, too.

  1. 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

Noah Lukeman explains the importance of getting a firm grip on the attention of readers in the first five pages. If you don’t, editors, agents, and readers may not finish your book. The First Five Pages reveals the necessary elements of good writing, whether it be fiction, nonfiction, journalism, or poetry, and points out the ingredients of great first five pages:

  •  A good opening with a catchy, hook
  •  Frugal use of adjectives and adverbs
  •   New, colorful metaphors and similes
  •   Clear, crisp dialogue
  •   Well-developed characterizations and appropriate lively settings
  •   Good pacing and progression of story

If you need more books to help you with writing skills, here is a former post with 28 Craft Books to Help You Get a Grip on Writing.

GIVEAWAY: I will give a free 1000 word critique to one of the lucky people who leaves a comment before midnight, Monday, May 26, 2014 telling me the title and author of a book or a link to a blog post that gave you an “aha moment” in a writing skill. Random.org will choose the winner. I will announce the winner on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


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13 Responses

  1. I also love the emotion thesaurus, but a favorite for writing children’s books is, How to Write a Children’s Book, Darcy Pattison. Thanks for being so generous, Joan. Nothing like winning a free critique. Different eyes, different ears to “hear” a story, so valuable! Thank you for another opportunity.


    • Dear Mona,
      Thank you for writing. Glad you also love the Emotion Thesaurus. Darcy Pattison does a great job in her blog as well as in her “How to Write a Children’s Book. Thanks for sharing. You’re welcome for the opportunity to win a free critique.

      Celebrate your life today.
      Never Give Up


  2. Joan,

    I’ve read Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages several times. He makes it sound easy. I have never read How to Write a Children’s Picture Book by Darcy Pattison, although I have read many of her blog posts which featured some of these ideas. I plan to buy Darcy’s book on my next craft writing order. Other titles worthy of comment are on my shelf at home and I’m away at the moment. Unfortunately, their aha moments aren’t coming to me. I’m sure there are some marked!


    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad that Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages makes writing sound easy. Glad you’ve found Darcy Pattison’s blog posts valuable and plan to get her book suggested by Mona Pease in her comment.

      Celebrate your life today.
      Never Give Up


  3. The emotion thesaurus is good. I am also using Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” which is great. I’ll have to check out Lukeman’s book. Thanks for the post!


    • Dear Carol,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you like the Emotion Thesaurus, too. I’m reading “Save the Cat by Blake Snyder right now. Glad you’re going to check out Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages. I believe it’ll help you realize how much you already know about first pages and add a few more ideas there. I believe the library may have copies of it.

      Celebrate your life right now.
      Never Give Up


  4. Hey Joan, thanks for the helpful post. I just ordered “The Emotions Thesaurus” for my Kindle and look forward to “showing” more emotions. in my stories. One of my favorite books on writing is Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,” especially the poem by Phillip Lopate, because it so wonderfully depicts my paranoid personality.
    “We who are
    your closest friends
    feel the time
    has come to tell you
    that every Thursday
    we have been meeting,
    as a group,
    to devise ways
    to keep you
    in perpetual uncertainty
    discontent and
    by neither loving you
    as much as you want
    nor cutting you adrift.
    Your analyst is
    in on it,
    plus your boyfriend
    and your ex-husband;
    and we have pledged
    to disappoint you
    as ;long as you need us.
    In announcing our
    we realize we have
    placed in your hands
    a possible antidote
    against uncertainty
    indeed against ourselves.
    But since our Thursday nights
    have brought us
    to a community
    of purpose
    rare in itself
    with you as
    the natural center,
    we feel hopeful you
    will continue to make unreasonable
    demands for affection
    if not as a consequence
    of your disastrous personality
    then for the good of the collective.

    The poem itself is so funny that I laugh every time a read it, but it also was an aha moment for writing free verse. Thanks for letting me be long winded. Sarah Maury Swan


    • Dear Sarah,
      Thanks for writing and sharing the poem by Phillip Lopate. It is indeed funny. It’s wonderful to treat yourself to humorous things. It helps us not take ourselves so very seriously, which we all do every once in a while. How neat that this poem gave you an “Aha moment” for writing free verse! Awesome. You can be long winded any time you want. I like it.,

      Thanks for sharing Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont as a great writing resource.

      Celebrate you right now!
      Never Give Up


  5. Hi Joan, I’m always looking for writing books. I haven’t read Writing for Emotional Impact on your list, so now I have a new one. Thanks for sharing. I’ve read the others and got something out of each of them.


    • Dear Kristina,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad to know you’re always looking for writing books. That shows what a good writer you are! I’m glad you’ve read some of the books I mentioned and got something out of each one. I am especially glad that you are going to check out Writing for Emotional Impact!

      Celebrate you today…right now.
      Never Give Up


  6. Thank you to all of you who left a comment:
    1. Mona Pease
    2. Linda Martin Andersen
    3. Carol Federlin Baldwin
    4. Sarah Swan
    5. Kristina Stanley

    I had random.org choose a number between 1 and 5. It chose number 5, therefore Kristina Stanley, you win a free 1000 word manuscript critique from me. Please send it to me at joanyedwards1@gmail.com.

    I will make a new post announcing you as the winner. You can comment on it if you like.

    Celebrate. Let the balloons fly. Congratulations, Kristina.

    Never Give Up


    • Congratulations, Kristina! You’ll love your prize. I know because I’ve won before too!


      • Dear Linda,
        Thank you for writing to congratulate Kristina!

        You’re awesome.


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