Apr 27, 2011

W is for Writing Manuals

I decided for W, I would do a few of my all time favourite books on writing. If you're a regular, you may have seen them mentioned before. These are the ones I think are brilliant value for money, broken down to function or genre:

Writing for Children:
I love this book so much, I'm re-reading it at the moment. It advises you all steps and aspects of writing a story for kids (and YAs). This guide even devotes a whole chapter to finding inspiration and ways to turn an idea into a story. There's also a great section helping you through the mid-story crisis, where you need to introduce momentum, and how to make your scenes page-turners. You'll learn about plots and sub-plots, suitable characters, dialogue and how to work your way through getting stuck with you WIP. It's easy to read and has lots of examples.

Mystery Writing:
This book is like a workbook and guide in one. Ephron provides charts and worksheets for your to fill in along the way as well as exercises for you tighten your mystery novel. A lot of planning goes into mysteries, you have to have your villains, detectives and victims all sorted, not to mention the clues and red herrings. Say a body turns up dead in your first page - have you bothered to do a character profile on that person? If you go to the extra trouble, you'll find more motives and suspects you can weave through your story.
If you are writing a mystery, you may get some help from my previous post:

Fantasy Writing:
A text book designed to be used in the classroom, this book is actually great for all ages. The main premise is to start your Fantasy story by creating a map of your world. From there your landscapes and natural elements will help you decide how to populate that world and what ecological conflicts your characters could face. To read more of my review, you can see my previous post here. And for those who read it previously, I did overcome my problem of the Kindle version having worksheets I couldn't print; I view the page on my Kindle for Mac, then open the program Preview (this is Mac, not sure for PC users sorry) and take a snapshot of the page by selection.

Young Writers:
This was a hard one to pick because there's a few books I love for young writers, but this one is new for me and I'm loving the practical yet motivating exercises in there. Adult writers could enjoy it too.

There are lots more books I love, but this blogpost would get way too long, so, I may have to save some for another time. Only X, Y and Z to go!


  1. For a minute there I thought the mystery book was by Nora Ephron (not much mystery to her writing, the girl falls for a boy).

    Excellent list.

  2. I've awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. Please come and pick it up.


    I like your suggestions today.

  3. Thanks for the reviews and links. We all need to read about how to write. I'm finishing Stephen King's On Writing. Every little bit helps.

  4. These look great. When I need more help and ideas, I'll know where to go. First, here to your blog for the titles, then off to get them!

  5. Thanks for the recommendations but I have to ask... do you have a library in your abode? You sure have a wealth of books to share with us and I'm grateful :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  6. My collection is growing. You have shared some I have not come across before, thanks.

  7. These sounds like some really helpful books - thanks for the recommendations!

  8. thanks for dropping by my blog. and thanks for sharing these wonderful books. I have the first book by Nancy Lamb. I'll have to check the others out.

  9. I'd say any of these would be helpful whether one wrote in the genre or not. Some tips work in any genre and there are always new ways to look at things. I have many books on writing but I don't read them enough.

    Tossing It Out

  10. Thanks for the recommendations, I'm gonna check a couple of these out! cheers!

  11. Thanks for the recommendations! I'm always interested in writing books, although I have to be careful not to spend so much time reading them that I don't write!

  12. I have never heard of these books before, I will have to try and find them. Thanks. Blessings, Joanne

  13. Great recommendations! One of my faves is "Stephen King on Writing." But if your draft is completed, "Don't Sabotage Your Submission: Save Your Manuscript from turning up D.O.A." by Chris Reardon is a good one!

  14. Good article. I am going to check out your earlier post on mystery writing that you linked to and then the book. You did such an awesome job promoting it; I want to buy it. I like that it has workbook pages.