July 28, 2019

5 Great Books On Writing

I've received a number of questions over the years from other writers and storytellers, asking me questions on...writing. And although I'm very touched to receive such questions, I still feel like I have so many things I need to learn myself still, so I thought I'd post instead on some books I find really good on the subject.

But first, a warning: I've written stories both in novel and screenwriting formats, so the books here are geared toward either of these. However, I find that, at the core, they're all about great storytelling, so I'm keeping them mixed up.

1.The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass

 Donald Maass has been a literary agent for quite a number of years now, and used his experience to write a number of books on the art of writing great fiction. What I really like about his books is that he always uses excerpts from a wide variety of books to illustrate his meanings.
Seriously, I love all of his books, and read them before I start any new novel.

2. Story by Robert McKee

 I discovered this great book when I first started delving in the screenwriting world. I love this book for the same reason I love Donald Maass's books: McKee filled this book with lots of examples from amazing movies to illustrate his points on what makes great storytelling for the big screen.

3. Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer

 This one I recommend you get (if you get it at all) in print format--because it's chock-full of gorgeous illustrations. It's another great book (particularly if you're highly visual) to help you come up with lots of new ideas for your stories, and includes short contributions from quite a number of great fantasy authors such as George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman Ursula K. Le Guin, and Joe Abercrombie, to name a few.

4. Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder

 This book has become a classic for screenwriters since it was first published in 2005. The premise of this screenwriting book is explained in its intro: "I call it the "Save the Cat" scene. They don't put it into movies anymore*. And it's basic. It's the scene where we meet the hero and the hero does something -- like saving a cat -- that defines who he is and makes us, the audience, like him." And then he shows ways to accomplish that...and more.

5. The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass

 And so yes, I'm finishing up with another book by the Donald Maass. But seriously, I own them all, and love them all. And this one's great becomes it comes from a point that I struggle with quite a bit--allowing yourself to be emotional through your characters (yeah, I think it comes from my being partly an introverted easily shamed robot).

VoilĂ ! Here are my top 5 favorite books on the craft of writing great stories.

What about you? Any other books you think should be added to this list?

Let me know!


*Except perhaps in The Incredibles