Writing is an art; it also is a Craft. We writers are fortunate that there are those who came before us who were/are Master Craftsmen – writers who carefully thought about what makes for a solidly constructed novel, and who then wrote books to help the rest of us minimize any spinning of our author-ly wheels.
Here are some of the works that I believe truly stand out in their ability to help aspiring novelists master the Craft of writing:
- Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
- Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
- How to Write Best Selling Fiction* by Dean Koontz
- Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc by Dara Marks
- Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain
The above books focus on how to build a novel properly; they provide how to’s on technique (plot and structure, characterization, story arc, concept, etc.) that will speed writers on the road to publication.
Two additional books I highly recommend:
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- The Writer’s Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats by Dian Dincin and Seli Groves
Steven Pressfield’s book is one of the best to address the common writer’s blight: procrastination. The Guide to Manuscript Formats provides all the guidelines you need to enable you to format your novel to meet the expectations of agents and editors.
* Now, sadly, out of print, but you may locate a copy in your local library or at a “gently used” book store.