Wanna write a novel? Are you looking for books or courses on writing?
Before you buy a course, I suggest you read books first. There’s a ton in Amazon!
Granted, you’re probably need to read a lot. But if you’re going to buy for example, ten books, the total amount won’t be as expensive as buying a course. In fact, it’s just a small fraction of the a course price.
But other than the price, I think there are lots of great craft books out there that you really don’t need a course. (Unless the course gives you access to the course creator and you can ask questions and ask for feedback from them, not only from fellow writers.)
Most of the time, craft books go into more depth than writing courses. That’s why when it comes to craft, I prefer books.
But there are a few writing courses that are worth it and I’ll write about them soon.
For now, I’ve curated here what I think are the best ones among the pile I’ve read.
But before we head over to my list of most recommended books, let me give you some reminders first.
1. Prioritize reading time
As much as you want to prioritize writing, you also should also prioritize reading. You need to fill your creative well by reading.
I once mentioned deactivating my Facebook allowed me to read two books in a week. I now have reactivated my Facebook account but only open it once every few days. And I still don’t have a Facebook app on my phone.
Try to see are your time suckers and do your best to avoid them. And then read instead.
But reading isn’t enough.
2. Take Notes
I often get light bulb moments when I’m reading a craft book.
Take notes so that you don’t forget them. It’s not enough to just try and store your acquired knowledge inside your head. Brainstorming is good but it’s done better when put into writing. Especially when you come up with a nice plot twist while reading a book.
Writing a novel is a complicated process. It’s better to have notes you can refer to later on.
3. Keep in mind that what the author teaches is what worked for them
There is no one correct way to write a story.
What they teach them might not work for you.
It’s good to read a lot of craft books so that you know what worked for others and perhaps you can try it.
But just because one author said to do this, doesn’t mean you have to follow it to the letter.
Sometimes you need to take one strategy from one author and then another strategy from another author then create a somewhat hybrid strategy for yourself.
Find out what works for you. But you wouldn’t find this if you don’t put in the work.
4. Start writing
It’s not enough to read a ton of craft books but keep on pushing writing your book in the back burner.
Often, too much knowledge can stop you from writing.
I’ve read a ton of books that when it came to writing my book, I was somehow paralyzed because I didn’t know where to start. After all the books I’ve read, I thought I was overwhelmed with all the techniques I’ve learned that I didn’t know how to apply them in real writing life.
Remedy this by writing. Even if you don’t know where to start.
If there’s a scene you really like, write it down. Or perhaps a captivating dialogue. Or a picturesque you want to describe. Write. It. Down.
Take one step at a time. Start with what you know now.
Don’t brainstorm inside your head. Write all your ideas and just start writing your book.
5. Don’t aim for perfection on your first draft
Yes, we need to read to learn. But doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to make mistakes.
Even after reading a ton of craft books, you wouldn’t be able to write a publishable book right away. And that’s okay! Writing is a skill. You can edit and revise after that. What’s important is you have something to edit rather than just thinking of writing a book.
*rubbing my palms*
I’m excited to share with you my list of craft books I highly recommend. I hope these books will give you guidance and enlightenment the way they did to me.
First, I’m going to give you the top three books I recommend.
1. The Writer’s Journey
By Christopher Vogler
This book is so good Shaunta at Ninja Writers uses this as a reference in her course Plotting Workshop. And I can see the reason why. If you’ve ever are stuck in plotting and how your story fits together, this is the book.
Most books one single subject. And that’s great because you get to focus on a single area like dialogue, or plotting, or character arcs.
But this book gives you a glimpse of what your book can become and then takes you to the journey from having an idea to fleshing it out as a novel.
2. 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love
By Rachel Aaron
Rachel doesn’t go around the bush and delivers straight to the point tips and strategies on how she’s written 10k a day. You don’t have to have a goal that big. But her strategies are practical that you can apply it to amp your word count.
Her technique in writing and plotting are worth noting. Although this book is short, I wrote pages and pages of notes while reading it!
3. Make Every Word Count: A Guide to Writing That Works—for Fiction and Nonfiction
By Gary Provost
This is a book I like to re-read over and over. This is the book that taught me how to show, don’t tell. Plus other writing tips that you’ll be able to use whether you write fiction and nonfiction.
So those are my top three. But don’t stop with those three because
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure
James Scott Bell
Plot Gardening: Write Faster, Write Smarter
Writing the Breakout Novel
I will update this post whenever I come across a good book. For now, start with any of these seven.
Over To You
What craft books have you read that changed the way you write?