Welcome back, dear reader, and happy NaNoWriMo! Now that spooky season has come to an end, it’s time to dive into my next project and bring you another twisted tale.
I’ve talked to several people over the years who say they’ve always wanted to write a novel or try NaNo, but they have no idea where to start. They’ve dreamed up a character or have an awesome premise in mind, but they aren’t sure how to weave it all together to craft a story. Writing a novel can sometimes feel like finding a bag of random puzzle pieces and trying to figure out how to fit them all together.
If you’re struggling to tell your story, here are five of my favorite non-fiction books on the craft of writing. They’re all filled with words of inspiration and advice from seasoned authors. You may not resonate with everything said in these books, but that’s okay! The goal is to find the nuggets of wisdom that work for you and the story you wish to tell.
On Writing by Stephen King
No list of craft books would be complete without King’s On Writing. While he doesn’t dig much into things like plot structure or character development, a lot of his musings on the life of a writer are interesting.
Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
If you’ve never plotted a novel before, James Scott Bell has an awesome book on how to structure a story and maintain your reader’s interest. Bell provides clear and actionable advice that can help turn any mess of scribbled notes into a proper outline.
The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman
I actually love all the “thesauruses” in this series, but this one is easily my favorite. If you’re looking to write a character with psychological trauma you have no experience with, it helps to dig into how that trauma might shape or influence the character’s behaviors. This handy little guide features everything from abuse and violence to poverty and illness.
DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira
I love Pereira’s writing style. DIY MFA is written in a witty and refreshing way some of the older craft books lack, making it easy to stay engaged. She also has a delightful podcast where she interviews published authors, always filled with helpful insights. Instead of focusing exclusively on the craft of writing, DIY MFA also features helpful advice about finding your writer tribe and reading like a writer.
Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer
Wonderbook is easily my favorite book on this list. The illustrations are gorgeous, and everything about the book is designed to prompt creativity and ideas. The advice is practical and helpful, but it’s presented in a refreshingly fun way. Unlike some other craft books, this one never feels dry or academic.
Do you have any favorite books on writing? Let me know in the comments!