Writing is truly an art. There’s a lot that goes into creating a new world and telling the stories of people you’ve never met. Then, you need to make other care about the people and places you hold near and dear to your heart. The ever-evolving craft of writing is a long, winding, and sometimes confusing path, but with the help of writing experts, writing a novel becomes a far easier task.
Over the past year, I’ve read several books on how to craft a narrative. When writing my latest book, I put several of the things I’ve learned to the test. The result? A streamlined writing process with characters that seem even more realistic than before.
To help you write your next book, here are the 7 books I think every aspiring author should read!
1). Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development
If you only read one book, this novel is the one for you. In this, you’ll learn all about various story arcs and how a character should evolve for each type. What I really love about Creating Character Arcs is how simplified K.M. Weiland makes the process. She does this by breaking down the various components of the character’s arc, such as the thing he wants vs. the thing he needs.
While I love how easy this is to read, my favorite part about this novel is all the hundreds of questions to consider when crafting your narrative. I highly recommend answering these questions, as it makes the writing process that much simpler.
2) . Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
It’s no surprise that outlining is a necessary step to writing a novel. In Outlining Your Novel, K.M. Weiland talks about the importance of this step while addressing the various ways you can outline your next novel. But this goes so far beyond telling you how to outline. It makes you think about the setting, the super minor details of your characters, and much more.
My absolute favorite part of this novel is the various templates included throughout. I especially found the character-builder template helpful, and I’ve added it to my list of things I’ll always fill out before writing.
3). Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book
I’m not exaggerating when I say Outlining Your Novel Workbook has changed the game of writing for me. A perfect companion to the novel about outlining by K.M. Weiland, this hands-on workbook includes questions and exercises to help you work through even the smallest of details with your book.
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite part because I love every single page of this workbook. But, if I had to choose one, it would be the various questions on complications and big moments that’ll occur in your novel. I found this particularly helpful to keep a healthy amount of conflict throughout my novel.
4). The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression
We’ve all heard show don’t tell. But The Emotion Thesaurus takes that to a whole new level. With 130 different emotions, you can learn about the various ways these emotions include physical, internal, and mental responses. It also includes information on what this emotion may escalate or de-escalate to, which is useful to, for example, show a heated argument between characters.
Honestly, the amount of detail included in this thesaurus is my favorite thing. I’m not lying when I say that I had this on my desk every time I went to write. Whenever I wanted to show emotion, I’d use the table of contents to find that emotion, then interweave the various responses to enhance my narrative.
5). The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes
It’s essential to create realistic, likable characters. One way to do that is to give them positive traits—like spunky, loyal, and sentimental. These traits make your character who they are. The Positive Trait Thesaurus is a fast and easy way to choose which positive traits your characters will have.
Similar to The Emotion Thesaurus, this novel includes tons of information on the various traits. Learn about the typical behaviors, associated emotions, as well as positive and negative aspects of each trait. I love this because I found it really helped me create a completely round character.
6). The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws
Going back to our school days, I’m sure we all remember Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which says, “For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.” So, in terms of writing, this means that for positive traits, you must also have negative traits. After all, pobody’s nerfect.
That’s where The Negative Trait Thesaurus comes into play. This guide includes various negative traits your character could have. Learn about the causes for this trait—which is great for backstory—associated behaviors, common emotions, and much more in this thesaurus. Honestly, what isn’t there to love about this?
7). Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print
When you’re done writing, there’s still much that needs to take place before you’re ready to publish. For starters, editing is just as important as writing. This is when you decide what makes it to the next round of edits, where you have plot holes, what you want more of, and anything that helps tie up loose ends.
This novel is a priceless resource. It includes so much amazing information, but my favorite thing is how easy this information is to digest. If you’re anything like me, the thought of editing is absolutely terrifying. But, with Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by my side, I found the editing process simplified. My absolute favorite thing about this resource is the separation of different aspects. Learn what makes a great narrative in one chapter before learning how to write great dialogue.
What Will You Write?
With these resources by your side, are you ready to get started on your next novel? I hope so because writing a novel is a thrilling and satisfying process. What will you write next?
For me, I’m taking a quick break before I write another novel, but I am halfway done with the outlining process for two different novels, so I know it’s just a matter of time before I write again.
Let me know what you’re working on, what resources you’ve found helpful, and anything else on your mind in the comments below!