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My Favorite Writing Books (and a Scrivener template)

TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER by Dwight Swain
— My original must-have book. Everything in one package. See this post for more.

STORY GENIUS by Lisa Cron
— A great, in-depth approach to creating a compelling story based on how your readers’ brains are wired (for more, see Lisa Cron’s WIRED FOR STORY). I also created a Scrivener template for this book’s process that you can download and install: Story Genius.scrivtemplate. For more on using Scrivener for the Story Genius process, and instructions for installing the template, check out my post on Writer Unboxed.

GOAL, MOTIVATION, AND CONFLICT by Debra Dixon
— Helps you create believable, consistent characters. Here’s an early post on this book.

STORY STRUCTURE DEMYSTIFIED by Larry Brooks (Or check out his newer books: STORY ENGINEERING and STORY PHYSICS)
— Excellent, thorough coverage of story structure, whether you plot or not. More here.

THE EMOTION THESAURUS by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
— An incredible resource for using nonverbal cues to deepen the emotion in your story. A must-have resource for any writer. Read about their old online version here.

WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
— The book I wish I’d had before starting my self-publishing journey.

STORY by Robert McKee
— A comprehensive overview focused on screenwriting, but with lots of helpful tips for novelists as well. Examples here.

SAVE THE CAT! and SAVE THE CAT! GOES TO THE MOVIES by Blake Snyder
— Story structure from a screen writer’s perspective, with examples to illustrate the concepts.

PLOT & STRUCTURE by James Scott Bell
— Another good book on understanding plot and story structure, brainstorming, choosing story ideas, and more.

THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS by James Scott Bell
— Motivation and advice in short bursts, based on Sun Tzu.

OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL by K.M. Weiland
— A great little book for easing you into outlining.

WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK by Donald Maass
— Helps you write the unexpected, and strengthen your characters and storyline.

FLIP DICTIONARY
— I love this thesaurus that lets you search by concept or topic, not just word.