Books:2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron - I'll admit that I'm a huge fangirl of all things Rachel Aaron to begin with but this book has helped everyone I've recommended it to. I use her method for most of my writing projects and it never lets me down. It's short and easy to follow. Plus she includes a fool-proof method for editing. Bonus points for it only being $1.99 on Kindle.
Shut Up & Write! by Judy Bridges - This book offers a few different approaches to story development and character creation but it doesn't bog you down with a lot of fluff, in fact, she gets right to the point every writing book should which is the story won't write itself. Sometimes we need to be reminded to get out of our own way and just write.
Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide To Building Stories That Resonate by Brian McDonald - This book offers a pretty basic breakdown of story structure and the three act system, which every writer should know. There's a reason all stories, book, movie, and narrative form, all share similar structures. Though the best parts of the book, for me, are the film examples McDonald uses to illustrate his points. He chooses popular movies that chances are good you've seen and explains why they are considered beloved classics.
The Fantasy Fantasy Formula by Deborah Chester - If you want to take a creative writing class but can't afford it, this is the next best thing. The author is the mentor of Jim Butcher of the Dresden Files, and her insight into writing fantasy is useful to the novice and more experienced writer alike who. Chester clearly explains the mechanics of story from the hook to how to transition between scenes, creating subplots, and so much more.
Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure (Foundations of Fiction) by Janice Hardy - If you need your hand held through the writing process from idea creation to the final edit (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, by the way!) then this book is for you. I've used it to help take a spark of an idea into something more fleshed out. Each exercise builds on the last until you have a solid outline to breeze you into your first draft. The only downside is you have to buy her Kindle book AND her workbook (both are a bit spendy) to get the full benefit but I personally think it's worth it if you have the extra cash.
The Courage To Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes - This book will not give you much in the way of how to write a story or create characters but it will assure you that you are not alone in your fears and hesitations. Whenever I'm feeling in the dumps over my writing, I turn to this book to bolster my confidence so I can get back at it. The book supplies quotes and anecdotes from famous writers who were just as afraid and doubtful of writing as you, and I are. There's comfort in that knowledge and hope that it does get easier.
Zen and the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury - I can't have a list of recommended writing books and not put one of my most beloved authors on it. Again, not much in the way of the mechanics of writing but I find this book immensely inspiring and his advice is a must for every writer. And if you follow his advice on reading poetry every day, I highly recommend his own book of poetry, I Live By The Invisible. It makes my heart ache in the best way possible.
Sites:Pretentious Title - I know I already plugged Rachel Aaron in the books section but her blog is a treasure trove of writing advice. She covers everything from world building to creating strong characters to the ins and outs of publishing and marketing. She's written a lot of books, some traditionally published and some self-published, which she shares the pros and cons of both. Aaron is as knowledgable as she is witty so her posts are always a good time.
Writers Helping Writers - An incredible writing resource with aspect of writing and beyond. Be warned, it's a rabbit hole of information and you could find yourself browsing expert advice for days.
One Stop For Writers - From the creators of the Negative Trait Thesaurus (a book I use all the time, btw), Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi bring you an awesome site that includes everything from their books as well as world buidling tools, story structure guides, character development sheets, and so on. There's a small monthly fee to use their site but so far I've found it is absolutely worth the subscrition price.
Writing Questions Answered - Whoever runs this blog is a saint, she's annoymous but clearly knows the ins and outs of writing. You can ask questions that she will answer on the site or you can scroll through the bagillions of other questions that have been asked and answered. I check her site daily and always learn something new.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) - A crazy-fun event that happens every November challenging writers to live the life of their writing dreams for just one month by putting 50,000 words down in 30 days. That comes out to be 1,667 words a day, roughly 3 pages. While it's not easy, it could just be the fire under your writing chair that gets you going. The key to success is that you can't procrastinate and you can't overthingk (or self-edit), all you have time for is to just let the story tumble out of you in all its imperfect glory. When November ends you can take that jumbled mess of a rough draft and put it through the editing process. Give it a try - you might surprise yourself.
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