Five Top Writing Craft Books

10 Day Write Blog Challenge Daily4This post is participating in the 10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge, Day Four.

Here are five of my all time top writing craft books. Some appear on other’s top reference lists, some may not.

The below short reviews come from Goodreads. View all my reviews there.
Writing the Breakout NovelWriting the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my all-time favourites in writing crafts books. I read this a good few years ago, as I was first starting out writing, and really must refresh my memory of this by working through the workbook with my WIP.


The Art of War for WritersThe Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enjoyed this, it’s a book that you can duck and dive into, pull out some inspiration or ‘yeah, of course’ moments, and move back into your own writing quickly.

Note: several of James Scott Bell’s books sit high on my list, and should be mentioned here: Revision & Self-Editing: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft Into a Finished Novel and Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish and Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict and Suspense.


Nail Your Novel: Why writers abandon books and how you can draft, fix and finish with confidenceNail Your Novel: Why writers abandon books and how you can draft, fix and finish with confidence by Roz Morris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short, sharp and a go-to reference for where I’m at in my WIP when I need it.

Note: several other recent books have received a 5 star rating from me, on similar topics. These include: 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron, Rock Your Plot: A Simple System for Plotting Your Novel by Cathy Yardley, and I imagine Larry Brook’s latest – Story Physics will receive a similar rating once I’ve read it.


Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever NeedSave the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve heard about this book for years, and finally got around to reading it, as a novelist. Save the Cat gives big points on story structure, how to make the hero likeable, and the several arc points (or beats) we find in most good stories. A must-have reference, and an easy read. You’ve got to understand the natural patterns of story structure (and be able to recognise them in other movies or stories) before able to successfully write to break a few of these rules.


The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character ExpressionThe Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thoroughly recommended as a reference tool for writers looking for new ways to show rather than tell the story. I have this open while self-editing.

The ladies at The Bookshelf Muse are very soon to come out with some more character trait thesauri like this one, based on the large database they have formed on their website.


10 Day Write Blog Challenge button150You can signup to respond to this prompt, or nine more days worth, via the 10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge. This question can be found on Day Four.

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