When I first started writing, with no idea of writing a novel in mind yet and just the necessity of writing those scenes that filled my head on daily basis, I never thought about books that help writing… books. I know it sounds silly. Of course there are books for everything you want or need to learn about. However, I didn’t know it was that… easy?
I mean, writing is not easy at all, we all know that. But picking up a book, reading it and start applying that knowledge into what you are doing seems to be pretty easy. At least on the paper.
(Well done, Victoria, your puns are top notch…)
Por cierto, recuerda que siempre publico mis artículos también en español: https://victoriadane.wordpress.com/libros-que-me-ayudan-a-escribir/
The day I decided I was going to write my first novel came and I started writing and… Can you guess? Yes, I found myself at the verge of crying, realising I had no hecking clue about what I was supposed to do. “Should I just continue writing? I have no plan! And I thought I had one! What am I doing with my life? We are going to die!”
(In case you didn’t know about this, I can be really metaphysical about everything when I am trying to write + the drama. I can talk and think about all these topics… but nothing about writing the damn novel, huh? Procrastinators, I salute you.)
Anyway, I talked to my boyfriend about it and he, being a cold and engineering (can I even use this word as an adjective?) head with legs, just jumped towards Amazon and made a quick search about writing books. Or books for writing. Or anything related to books and writing. You get the idea, don’t ya?
As you could guess, a bunch of books poped up and we entered the great world of books that help. They help building your own business. Or turning your home into a thing from the future. Or cooking just with beans (I can even start talking about how many recipes you can find using JUST beans). But, of course, the thing that is interesting for us is “books that help writing”. So here you have mine:
The 90-day novel, by Alan Watt – This was the first book that I read about writing as a craft, from a writer to a writer. I don’t think it is the perfect formula for me, since I believe every author creates in a unique, personal way from the rest of the world. In fact, none of the books on this list are. However, it gave me the knowledge I needed at the time in order to create the world and the characters as I should. This book is filled with questions and exercises for you to imagine and create every single element and “mental” tool that you will need during the making of your story. Futhermore, this book manages itself to motivates you as a reader. If you keep reading it everyday, along writing your novel, even if you are not following the exercises/questions, it pushes you to keep writing, understanding when you are in the process and how it is affecting your mind, ego and creativity.
Outlining your Novel, by K. M. Weiland – This was the second book I ever read in my list of “books that help writing”. It is not as detailed as the previous one in terms of questions and discovering each and every corner of the world of your story. However, it is a great help in order to create your own method in the real process of writing, since creating the very first, tiny outline until writing as a fact. It gave me lots of knowledge about what I was doing wrong and why I really need an outline, and the benefits of working on a really detailed outline to lessen the work afterwards.
Outlining your Novel WORKBOOK, by K. M. Weiland – After getting those two books, I went back and bought 3 more. This is the first one of that second batch that I read, or, in fact, used. It is filled with exercises, questions and different approaches for you to understand better your outline and improve it as much as possible. It is kind of a mixture between the first and the second ones that I have already talked about, although it has not the same length as combining both. It is a nice “have” to add to others, but it is not a “must” or a “basic” one.
Creating Character Arcs, by K. M. Weiland – Oh my God. This book has saved my writing life in a way I didn’t think it was possible. After I finished my first novel, when I started reviewing and editing it for the first time, I realised how bad it was. And when I say bad, I mean BAD. It was awful, with huuuuuge plot holes that I was even sensing from afar, and characters that didn’t even make sense! I got so sad I was at the verge of a real depression. I felt myself as a failure. But, I had this book and I started reading it like someone desperate that looks for salvation everywhere (Well, I certainly WAS that person, there is no need for a “like” like that. But, you know, it seems nicer and less harmful that way.). And I realised that, yes, I made mistakes, but not everything was lost. I just had to work harder and wiser. Every writer on the History has suffered from similar problems and neither I was going to be the one that didn’t nor I was going to be that huge failure I was thinking about myself. Story time aside, this book is focused, as you could have already realised, on characters and how to create realistic ones. It guides you, step by step, on how to create the perfect character arc, how to implement that on the character you really want to have on your story and, finally, how to insert all of that in the story itself. I can’t recommend it enough.
The 90-day Rewrite, by Allan Watt – I have not finished it yet, since I preferred to re-read all the previous books I have on this list before getting to this one again. Written by the same author as The 90-day Novel and keeping the same structure, you can imagine how it works. However, it is not just “the same book with a different cover”. This is a proper new, different book and gets the idea of the author’s new state of mind after writing and then rewriting/editing the story, and pushes him/her to improve the novel as much as possible, motivating him/her again to not get stuck or overwhelmed by it all.
As you can see, even though I seem to be stuck in certain authors and types of books, I find them pretty diverse in the topics they cover through their pages to keep them close when I write. I can’t recommend them enough, and I hope they can help you as they have helped me if you have them or are planning to buy them.
So, let me know in the comments below or in my social networks (Ig, Tw and Fb) what do you think about these books, if you find them helpful or not, and what about the ones you have (if so). Also, please please please, don’t be shy to make any suggestions of books like these ones that have worked for you and could work for me. I am always open to this kind of “gifts” 🙂