How To Write A Novel

As an award-winning author of eleven novels and novellas, I often get asked by aspiring writers what books they should read before undertaking their own novel.

 

There are many books for the different stages of your writing life, but here are few of the top ones I would recommend:

 

Inspirational books:

On Writing - Stephen King

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage - Ann Patchett
How I Write - Janet Evanovich
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott

How-To craft books:

classics:

Goal, Motivation and Conflict - Debra Dixon

Save the Cat - Blake Snyder

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers - Christopher Vogler

also:

How to Write a Damn Good Novel - James N. Frey

Story Genius - Lisa Cron

Outlining Your Novel - K.M. Weiland

Plot & Structure - James Scott Bell

The Author Training Manual - Nina Amir
Romancing the Beat - Gwen Hayes

Steering the Craft - Ursula LeGuin

Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg
Techniques of the Selling Writer - Dwight Swain
Writing Deep Scenes: Plotting your story through action, emotion, and theme - Martha Alderson and Jordan Rosenfeld

 

For help polishing your story after it’s written:

Fiction First Aid - Raymond Obstfeld

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Renni Brown and Dave King
Writing Active Setting: The Complete How-to Guide - Mary Buckham
The Emotional Thesaurus - Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know - Shawn Coyne

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes - Jack Bickham
How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript - James Scott Bell
Writing Subtext: How to craft subtext that develops characters, boosts suspense, and reinforces theme - Elizabeth Lyon

There is an endless supply of books that will teach you how to write, but here’s a secret all authors know:  the best way to learn how to structure a story is to pick up your all-time favorite novel and reread it! What did you love about the story? (Characters? Emotion? The unique setting?) Your own book will need that, too. What kept you reading late into the night? (Plot twists? Non-stop action? A black moment where you thought all was lost in the book?) Consider including those elements in your own story! 

 

By critiquing your favorite novel with an author’s eye instead of a reader’s eye, you can learn a lot about how to write, simply through osmosis. (And have fun while doing it.) Everyone has a novel inside them, so take a deep breath, sit yourself down at your keyboard, and start writing yours!

 

And let me know if you have any questions 

 

Best,

Leigh

www.leighcourt.com