Books to improve your writing craft
- The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron. My most favorite book on the writing process. It always inspires me. Julia Cameron is your slightly New Age writing aunt who teaches you to trust yourself and the writing and gives you pointers on how to ignore your inner critic. Very gentle and fun. After reading this book, my productivity shot up. Since then it’s boosted even further with…
- Dean Wesley Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing posts, free at his website, though you can also buy an eBook if you want!
- On Writing. Yup, by Stephen King. If Julia Cameron is your slightly New Age writing aunt, Stephen King is your hard-working uncle telling you all his crafty tricks in the back corner of a bar and grill. He will teach you a lot of nuts and bolts. He’s lived DA LIFE.
- If You’re Writing, Let’s Talk, by Joel Saltzman. If you are just getting your feet wet with writing, this is a good book to have, because it follows several different kinds of writers and shows how they overcome–or don’t overcome–their common challenges.
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King. Worth its weight in gold. Shows you, side by side, the difference between beginner writing and a pro manuscript so you can improve your work quickly! Points out craft habits that can drag your work down.
- Screenwriting 101, by FILM CRIT HULK. Learn how drama/storytelling works with this book, adapted from HULK’S (no longer available?) once-free megaposts on the topics.
- Techniques of the Selling Writer, by Dwight V. Swain. This will teach you drama/storytelling basics and goes hand-in-hand with FILM CRIT HULK’S lessons. My paper copy is all noted up because it is full of TRUTH.
Helpful Writing Software
- TheSage. Word’s built-in thesaurus (on my laptop, at least) is pitiful. However, it is unwise for me to write and edit on a computer that has internet access. Solution? Download this thorough dictionary-slash-semi-thesaurus. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this sooner. (I still wish the thesaurus was a little better though.)
- WORK. A simple program by Neil Cicierega, of Potter Puppet Pal fame. It times you when you’re working in the programs of your choice; silently judges you when you’re whiling away time.
- TK Notebook 2.13. Simplest free desktop wiki EVER. I spent a week going through all the other free desktop wikis and kept coming back to Notebook. It doesn’t do images. And I don’t think it’s maintained anymore. That is its only downside. Otherwise, you can use it as a journal or use it to build an encyclopedia for your sci-fi novel.