Every now and then I like to refer people to the resources I’ve found most valuable in my novel-writing career. Today is one of those days. I’ve read a lot of books over the years, and I’ve found these to be the most helpful.
If you’re just starting your novel, I can’t over stress the value of Jeff Gerke’s The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction. You don’t have to write Christian fiction for this book to help you, but if you want to write inspirational or clean fiction, I consider this book a must-have. Gerke’s easy-to-read voice and easy-to-understand examples helped me finally grasp basic fiction concepts (like show, don’t tell) that had eluded me until I read this book.
For Every Writer
Self-editing for the Fiction Writers by Browne and King. I made the mistake of not reading this until after I had a full manuscript to edit. The tips and tricks in this book helped clarify so many things for me that I instantly regretted waiting so long to read it. It obviously teaches you how to spot areas in your manuscript that need work, but in doing so it also reinforces those skills that you need to be a better writer.
Back to Jeff Gerke, I’m pulling out Plot Verses Character. A good story matters, but so do good characters. Many people know what story they want to tell, but they don’t necessarily consider whether or not their characters are the types of people who would really get stuck in those kinds of situations. You can write a plot-centric novel, but there needs to be a good balance of believable characters. Plot Verses Character takes time to identify the necessary aspects of both. Gerke’s writing style again makes it easy-to-read and easy-to-understand.
For Character Writers
Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. When you’re in love with characters (like me), you need a little help understanding what makes a good story. What I loved most about this book was the interactive nature. Bell doesn’t just tell you what makes a good plot, he includes questions and prompts throughout the book to help you work through your own manuscript’s plot.
Those are the books I go back to over and over again when I need a fiction refresher. What about you? Do you have a favorite fiction-writing resource?
It wouldn’t be fair to tell you about my favorite writing resources without giving one away, so today I’m giving away a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Leave your name and email in the comments for your chance to win!