Stuck on revisions? Overthinking your draft? These books will help you get out of that rewriting slump that happens every to even the most experienced writers. Likewise, if you’re new to the craft and need some expert guidance apart from majoring in creative writing, these books are for you. Each of these has something to offer every writer, no matter what skill level.
Developmental Editing, Scott Norton, The University of Chicago Press
If you’re planning a novel length project or simply having trouble organizing your ideas in a longer nonfiction piece, Scott Norton’s informative book discusses how developmental editors revise proposed manuscripts into publishable books. Though it is mainly geared towards professional editors, there is a great deal of valuable information to writers, such as picking a title, identifying your target audience, and so forth.
Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, James Scott Bell, Writer’s Digest
If you need a refresher course in writing craft techniques, then this book is for you. Reading Bell is like having a personal creative writing coach help you at each step of the way, whether it is creating dynamic characters or revising a first draft. The second edition also includes a chapter on “deepening” which asks simple questions geared towards creating depth in your main characters. I cannot emphasize enough how important this book was for me during the revision process in my own work, when I found myself continuously “stuck” in a particular chapter or scene.
On Writing, Stephen King, Simon and Schuster
Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s hard to dispute Stephen King’s success as a writer. This book is more memoir than instruction manual, but it is no less important when it comes to dispensing valuable advice. If you want a peek inside the life of a writer with a lifelong dedication to the craft, this book contains not only suggestions for good habits but road-tested expertise. I also enjoyed reading about King’s personal life and his personal journey as a writer. We tend to think celebrity writers are successful due to equal parts talent and je ne sais quoi, King demystifies the process entirely with a description detailing years of struggle.
What are some of your favorite books concerning writing techniques? As always, feel free to leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.