11 Indespensible Writing Books for Fiction

With a plethora of writing books I sat on the floor, for hours, in the writing section of Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, investigating ALL the writing books they had on their wooden shelves. Happily I hunted.  At that time I left with two key books (*listed below).   In other cases, a writing friend has suggested a “must have” book, or even gifted me a pertinent writing book.  In the books that follow I found the answers to writing questions or problems I was encountering in writing my first novel, The Tile Maker

The list:

1. *Your First Novel by Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb, foreward by Dennis Lehane—Succinct, this book explains how to write your first novel, and at the end of each chapter has suggested reading.  Blessed I bought it and have it, for it is my guide on what to do next, as I head towards publication.
2. The Writer’s Portable Mentor (What a great title! I love this book! I was gifted this book) by Priscilla Long—This book is like finding a gemstone, valuable beyond measure…no kidding. 
3. The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler—In this book the mythic structures of storytellers and screenwriters, based on Joseph Campbell’s work, show’s you how to tap into the mythological core which exists in us all.
4. Stein on Writing by Sol Stein—Written from an old pro Sol Stein has been on all sides of the industry and his experience and knowledge are helpful for any writer. He introduces “triage” as a way to revise your manuscript drafts. 
5. How to Grow a Novel by Sol Stein—Another winner, with good questions to ask yourself as you write and rewrite.
6. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass—Straight forward, this books tells you the key ingredients to write a breakout novel.
7. *Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker—A must have on hand, when grammar, punctuation, and dialogue questions arise.
8. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & David King—Excellent advice on all key parts of writing fiction: show and tell, characterization and exposition, point of view etc…
9. The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman—Organized into three parts, preliminary problems, dialogue, and the bigger picture, this book has sound advice and examples of what works and what doesn’t.
10. Webster’s Newworld Thesaurus—Every writer should have a hardbound Thesaurus, yes, I use the Internet Thesaurus at times, but most of the time, it is my pleasure to thumb through this good friend, given to me by a good friend.
11. Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged, with a 1934 copyright— A Very Large dictionary, with 600,000 words, I still do not have this dictionary but I want it, and will have it one day.  I am making due with a Chambers Dictionary, I picked up used, a 300,000-word dictionary as of now.

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