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Writing Inspiration: Craft Books (or--books part 2)

Cheryl's Musings: Writing Inspiration: Craft Books (or--books part 2)

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Writing Inspiration: Craft Books (or--books part 2)

Here are some more writing books that fill my motivational tank, but these aren't designed to be motivational or inspirational. Instead, these are excellent craft books, the kind that leave me with so many ideas I have to go try them out. I hope you find one or two that sound helpful for wherever you are on your writing road!

Crafting Stories for Children, by Nancy Lamb: This is my absolute favorite how-to book for children's writers. Nancy Lamb tackles the basics--how to begin a story, characterization, inner and outer dialog. She also tackles trickier concepts, like story and quest, voice and tone, story structure. The book approaches writing as if you're building a house, with sections such as Building Plans, Foundation & Structure, and Structural Supports. This book is easy to follow and full of practical ways to improve your writing, whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced writer.

Picture Writing: a new approach to writing for kids and teens, by Anastasia Suen: This book focuses on the study of children's literature as a means to writing great children's literature. I loved it, because it helped me to think about children's books in a new way. She also provides a beautiful illustration of the creative process that has helped me to be patient at those times when the story doesn't seem to go anywhere.

Story Sparkers: A Creative Guide for Children's Writers, by Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey:.I wrote an entire book based on characters inspired by this duo's great writing exercises. Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey authored the Bailey School Kids Jr. chapter book series, the books that tipped both of my boys into the land of fluent readers. This book covers the gambit of writing tools: markets, cultivating ideas, the writing process, and details of writing craft. It also provides some of the best writing exercises I've ever used!

The Writer's Journey, by Christopher Vogler. This book is a complete explanation of the Hero's Journey, or "mythic structure for writers." I had to include it because so many writers swear by it. I love the concepts and I use many of the principles of the hero's journey when structuring my own stories--but the truth is that I found his writing a bit too theoretical without enough opportunity to apply it. Check out this book before you buy--it might be perfect for you. If not, find another resource about the Hero's Journey, because the structure of myth is a great tool for great story crafting.

Writing the Breakout Novel (book and workbook), by Donald Maas: Donald Maass is president of the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York, where he's studied enough great books to develop his theory about what makes a book succeed. Both the book and workbook provide excellent information, but if you want to dig into the material, I'd recommend the workbook. His exercises can help you reach the next level in your writing craft by showing you how to make your characters, emotions, and settings larger than life. Great tool!

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