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Updated by Hunter Emkay on Feb 20, 2018
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Hunter Emkay Hunter Emkay
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Writing Craft Books

My ultimate list of writing craft books - fiction, screenwriting, motivation.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Novelist Steven Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance; Gates of Fire) goes self-help in The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle. Dubbing itself a cross between Sun-Tzu's The Art of War and Julie Cameron's The Artist's Way, Pressfield's book aims to help readers "overcome Resistance" so that they may achieve "the unlived life within."

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition

At the beginning of The Writer's Journey, Christopher Vogler asserts that "all stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies." Some may be hard-pressed to accept this idea (and will wonder how storytellers from Homer to Shakespeare to Robert Altman might respond to the proposition).

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need [Blake Snyder] on Amazon.com. FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. This ultimate insider's guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who's proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!

Writing the Breakout Novel: Donald Maass

Writing the Breakout Novel [Donald Maass] on Amazon.com. FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Take your fiction to the next level! Maybe you're a first-time novelist looking for practical guidance. Maybe you've already been published

Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence

Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence [Roz Morris] on Amazon.com. FREE shipping on qualifying offers. By bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor with a top London literary consultancy This book is used by award-winning authors and university creative writing departments.

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King's On Writing really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists. The memoir is terrific stuff, a vivid description of how a writer grew out of a misbehaving kid.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Illustrated Ed.: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation: Lynne Truss, Pat Byrnes: Amazon.c...

Who would have thought a book about punctuation could cause such a sensation? Certainly not its modest if indignant author, who began her surprise hit motivated by "horror" and "despair" at the current state of British usage: ungrammatical signs ("BOB,S PETS"), headlines ("DEAD SONS PHOTOS MAY BE RELEASED") and band names ("Hear'Say") drove journalist and novelist Truss absolutely batty.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

"Brilliant and real and true."-Rosanne Cash"Austin Kleon is positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet... Kleon makes an articulate and compelling case for combinatorial creativity and the role of remix in the idea economy."-The Atlantic"Breezy and fun and yes, scary.

The Artist's Way

With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life: Twyla Tharp, Mark Reiter: 9780743235273: Amazon.com: Books

Perhaps the leading choreographer of her generation, Tharp offers a thesis on creativity that is more complex than its self-help title suggests. To be sure, an array of prescriptions and exercises should do much to help those who feel some pent-up inventiveness to find a system for turning idea into product, whether that be a story, a painting or a song.

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer

Covering the writing waterfront-from basics on verb tense to the value of forming a "support group"-Poynter Institute vice president Clark offers tips, tricks and techniques for anyone putting fingers to keyboard. The best assets in Clark's book are in the "workshop" sections that conclude each chapter and list strategies for incorporating the material covered in each lesson (minimize adverbs, use active verbs, read your work aloud).

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting

Writing for the screen is quirky business. A writer must labor meticulously over his or her prose, yet very little of that prose is ever heard by filmgoers. The few words that do reach the audience, in the form of the characters' dialogue, are, according to Robert McKee, best left to last in the writing process.

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book [Guy Kawasaki, Shawn Welch] on Amazon.com. FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Essential reading (and reference) for modern authors, regardless of experience. - Kirkus Book Reviews Nuts

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell)

Originally written by Campbell in the '40s-- in his pre-Bill Moyers days -- and famous as George Lucas' inspiration for "Star Wars," this book will likewise inspire any writer or reader in its well considered assertion that while all stories have already been told, this is not a bad thing, since the retelling is still necessary.

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)

Are you a fool for mnemonics? If so, you'll fall head over nubucks for Mignon Fogarty--a.k.a. the Grammar Girl--and her handy new audio guide to writing and speaking well. It's chock-full of smart little anecdotes and memory tricks for felling the most common grammatical foes (who can ever remember the difference between "nauseous" and "nauseated" anyway?)

Story Engineering: Larry Brooks

The vast majority of writers begin the storytelling process with only a partial understanding where to begin. Some labor their entire lives without ever learning that successful stories are as dependent upon good engineering as they are artistry. But the truth is, unless you are master of the form, function and criteria of successful storytelling, sitting down and pounding out a first draft without planning is an ineffective way to begin. Story Engineering starts with the criteria and the architecture of storytelling, the engineering and design of a story--and uses it as the basis for narrative. The greatest potential of any story is found in the way six specific aspects of storytelling combine and empower each other on the page. When rendered artfully, they become a sum in excess of their parts.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling: James N. Frey

How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling [James N. Frey] on Amazon.com. FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Written in a clear, crisp, accessible style, this book is perfect for beginners as well as professional writers who need a crash course in the down-to-earth basics of storytelling. Talent and inspiration can't be taught

The Back of the Napkin (Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures: Dan Roam

"There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it. And there is no more powerful way to see hidden solutions than to pick up a pen and draw out the pieces of our problem." So writes Dan Roam in The Back of the Napkin, the international bestseller that proves that a simple drawing on a humble napkin can be more powerful than the slickest PowerPoint presentation. Drawing on twenty years of experience and the latest discoveries in vision science, Roam teaches readers how to clarify any problem or sell any idea using a simple set of tools.

Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time: Jordan Rosenfeld

Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time [Jordan Rosenfeld] on Amazon.com. FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Write Scenes that Move Your Story Forward In Make a Scene, author Jordan E. Rosenfeld takes you through the fundamentals of strong scene construction and explains how other essential fiction-writing techniques

The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Your Novel Up For Success

The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Your Novel Up For Success [Jeff Gerke] on Amazon.com. FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Seeking writing success? Start at the beginning... Whether you’re looking to get published or just hoping to hook your reader

The Busy Writer's One Hour Plot: Marg McAlister

The Busy Writer's One Hour Plot: Marg McAlister: Amazon.com: Kindle Store

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art: Scott McCloud

A comic book about comic books. McCloud, in an incredibly accessible style, explains the details of how comics work: how they're composed, read and understood. More than just a book about comics, this gets to the heart of how we deal with visual languages in general. "The potential of comics is limitless and exciting!" writes McCloud.

Characters & Viewpoint - Orson Scott Card

Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint: Proven advice and timeless techniques for creating compelling characters by an award-winning author [Orson Scott Card] on Amazon.com. FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Vivid and memorable characters aren't born: they have to be made This book is a set of tools: literary crowbars

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller: John Truby

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller: John Truby: Amazon.com: Kindle Store

Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence

Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters, what fuels the success of any great story, and what keeps readers transfixed. Wired for Story reveals these cognitive secrets—and it’s a game-changer for anyone who has ever set pen to paper. The vast majority of writing advice focuses on “writing well” as if it were the same as telling a great story.