Books We Love!

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury's guide to writing comprises of ten essays and eight poems from his past that show the zen qualities a writer should adopt and become. Bradbury shares the ultimate wisdom of what it means to be a writer for life, and how to celebrate writing every day.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan

For struggling creatives everywhere, The Artist's Way is a twelve-week program that leads readers through any conflict that keeps a writer from writing. Cameron and Bryan dedicate themselves to teaching how to overcome any conflict, including such heavy hitters as fear, jealousy, guilt, and self-sabotage.

The Writer's Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the "Write" Side of Your Brain by Jamie Cat Callan

Designed by a longtime creative writing teacher, this innovative kit includes a 64-page booklet filled with exercises and instructions that focus on a "right-brain" approach to writing. Sixty exercises to inspire First Sentences, Non Sequiturs, and Last Straws will get stories off the ground, 60 cards fuel creative descriptions, and four spinner palettes will ignite unexpected plot twists. For any aspiring writer, this kit is the perfect first step on the path to literary greatness!

The Author's Toolkit: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing and Publishing Your Book by Mary Embree

A longtime author, editor, and writing coach, Mary Embree offers practical advice to writers who want to wade the waters of publication. She details everything from creating manuscript, to navigating a contract, to finding an agent, but, like any talented writer, doesn't forget to speak to craft.

The Observation Deck: A Tool Kit for Writers by Naomi Epel

This may be the most useful tool for writing to come along since the computer. The Observation Deck is a 160-page book by Naomi Epel presenting the writing insights, tips, and exercises of today's most talented writers. It's paired with 50 inspiring flash cards to break the spell of writer's block and overcome hurdles to creativity. Great for both beginning and seasoned writers, The Observation Deck offers encouragement and ingenious strategies from great writers who've been there. This little box, tailor-made for writers, is loaded with effective techniques to get the writing going, right now.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Writing Down the Bones is a self-examination, as well as an examination on writing and writing philosophy. Natalie Goldberg's short, quirky chapters detail such topics as how to write in a restaurant and why writing is forever important, all the while helping readers find renewed inspiration in their own craft.

Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days by Denise Jaden

Writers flock to National Novel Writing Month each November because it provides a procrastination-busting deadline. But only a fraction of the participants meet their goal. Denise Jaden was part of that fraction, writing first drafts of her two published young adult novels during NaNoWriMo. In Fast Fiction, she shows other writers how to do what she did, step-by-step, writer to writer. Her process starts with a prep period and then provides day-by-day coaching for the thirty-day drafting period. Finally, her revision tips help writers turn workable drafts into compelling and publishable novels.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Stephen King's On Writing is both a memoir and a learning experience through conversational storytelling. Filled with plenty of concrete ideas that any writer should adopt, it also teaches by example, navigating through King's early career as a writer, and how he learned to keep writing, even in the throes of his drug addiction, and in the aftermath of a near-fatal car accident.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Witty, kind, and generous, Anne Lamott talks readers through everything from a bad first draft to a publication rejection. Bird by Bird tackles the tough stuff. Lamott takes a writer's panic and offers practical advice, easing anxieties about writer's block, beta readers, or jealousy, all in an understanding voice, free of judgment.

The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life by Ann Patchett

In The Getaway Car, Patchett writes passionately about her decision to become a writer, what it meant to her, and everything she needed to do to fulfill her unwavering ambition. Patchett dispenses wisdom from her own experiences with humor, without denying the very truth about being a writer: Writing is difficult.

Tell Me a Story by E.J. Runyon

Too many books tell you what you need to do during a round of editing...but they very rarely explain why that need exists. Without explanation and examples to help your understanding, craft basics can feel restrictive and unbearable. You might have already begun writing something you've had a great idea for. But a great story requires more than the gift of inspiration. Tell Me A Story takes you through the first steps of what you need to know to write well, and how to improve your editing technique. This book lets you learn with Hows and Whys, through writing examples from real novices. This will allow you to jump into storytelling with solid practices for getting your ideas from your mind to the page.

642 Things to Write About: A Journal by the San Francisco Writers Grotto (Introduction by Po Bronson)

This collection of 642 outrageous and witty writing prompts will get the creative juices flowing in no time. From crafting your own obituary to penning an ode to an onion, each page of this playful journal invites inspiration and provides plenty of space to write. Brimming with entertaining exercises from the literary minds of the San Francisco Writersу Grotto, this is the ultimate gift for scribes of every stripe.

A Writer's Guide to Characterization: Archetypes, Heroic Journeys, and Other Elements of Dynamic Character Development by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Victoria Lynn Schmidt's book is for writers who want to get their hands dirty. A Writer's Guide to Characterization includes lessons on character development and exercises that help writers create a full range of characters with different dimensions and compelling character arcs.

You've Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams by Elizabeth Sims

If you're a first-time writer tackling a big project, Elizabeth Sims' You've Got a Book in You covers the basics: telling a story, writing what you don't know, brainstorming, and renewing your creativity for more. Sims offers no-nonsense advice in a friendly voice, encouraging ideas and helping you gain the skills needed to make it to the end.

The Tao of Writing: Imagine. Create. Flow. by Ralph L. Wahlstrom

Wahlstrom starts from within in The Tao of Writing. Rather than focus on outside practices on the mechanics of writing, he teaches readers how to draw upon one's inner-self to find inspiration and dedication to the craft. The zen of Taoism, combined with gentle encouragement meets writer's block and shows that it is unblockable.

The Daily Reader: 366 Selections of Great Prose and Poetry to Inspire a Productive and Meaningful Writing Life by Fred White

The Daily Reader is a collection of over 350 examples of prose and poetry to inspire any writer, as well as thoughtful reflections on the texts, and short writing exercises. More than anything, Fred White argues, writers should be readers, and The Daily Reader shows how to read as a writer would.

"Now What?" Books We Love!

Revision and Self Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells by James Scott Bell

Inside you'll find:

  • Self-editing techniques for plot, structure, character, theme, voice, and more that can be applied as you're writing to reduce your revision workload.
  • Methods for fine-tuning your first draft into a tight, well-developed piece of literature.
  • The Ultimate Revision Checklist, which seamlessly guides you through the revision process, step by step.
  • Exercises and techniques for "deepening" your work to engage and excite readers like never before.

Whether you're writing a novel currently or have finished the first draft, Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, Second Edition will give you the guidance you need to revise your manuscript into a novel ready to be sold.

The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself by Susan Bell

The Artful Edit explores the many-faceted and often misunderstood—or simply overlooked—art of editing. The book brims with examples, quotes, and case studies, including an illuminating discussion of Max Perkins's editorial collaboration with F. Scott Fitzgerald on The Great Gatsby. Susan Bell, a veteran book editor, also offers strategic tips and exercises for self-editing and a series of remarkable interviews, taking us into the studios of successful authors such as Michael Ondaatje and Ann Patchett to learn from their various approaches to revision. Much more than a manual, The Artful Edit inspires readers to think about both the discipline and the creativity of editing and how it can enhance their work. In the computer age of lightning-quick composition, this book reminds readers that editing is not simply a spell-check. A vigorous investigation into the history and meaning of the edit, this book, like The Elements of Style, is a must-have companion for every writer.

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It... Successfully! by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

Written by experts with thirteen books between them as well as many years’ experience as a literary agent (Eckstut) and a book doctor (Sterry), this nuts-and-bolts guide demystifies every step of the publishing process: how to come up with a blockbuster title, create a selling proposal, find the right agent, understand a book contract, develop marketing and publicity savvy, and self-publish. There’s new information on how to build up a following (and even publish a book) online; the importance of a search-engine-friendly title; producing a video book trailer; and e-book pricing and royalties. Includes interviews with hundreds of publishing insiders and authors, including Seth Godin, Neil Gaiman, Amy Bloom, Margaret Atwood, Larry Kirshbaum, Leonard Lopate, plus agents, editors, and booksellers; sidebars featuring real-life publishing success stories; sample proposals, query letters, and a feature-rich website and community for authors.

Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore by Elizabeth Lyon

Professional editor and author Elizabeth Lyon offers aspiring novelists the guidance and instruction they need to write and edit well-crafted and compelling stories that will stand out from the competition and attract the attention of agents and publishers, including:

  • Stand-out style techniques, from accessing an authentic voice to applying techniques of "wordsmithing" that transform prose.
  • How to rewrite characterization for dimensionality, a universal need, and theme.
  • Adjustment suggestions to match the prose style and structure of specific genres.
  • Correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style.
  • Strategies to strengthen story beginnings and endings.
  • Methods for increasing plot stakes, creating movement, and adjusting pace for maximum suspense.