Resources for Fiction Writers
UPDATED: A recent project in which I evaluated a manuscript written by a fledgling fiction writer ended in a group of recommendations for other sources Why? Some of you might wonder why the advice in those recommended books wasn’t put directly in the manuscript evaluation itself and why would the writer want to read lists of books about writing. (After all, doesn’t a writer just want to get down to writing?!)
Well, here are some reasons:
- A professional manuscript evaluation gives targeted comments and advice to serve the writer now, with this manuscript, at this point in its development, and within the agreed-upon parameters of the evaluation.
- In a month or a year, the writer might be facing a new set of challenges.
- There’s a lot of great advice already published for writers, plus examples and exercises. While some advice in the recommended books might not be relevant now, good sources of advice can last the writer a lifetime.
- More sources of advice give the writer more choices.
Ultimately, while a fiction writer may work with an editor, the manuscript is the writer’s. Each fiction writer must choose what advice to ignore, what advice to take in, and how to act on that advice.
Here are some of the sources I’ve recommended to fiction writers:
- Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, 2nd edition, by James Scott Bell, Writer’s Digest Books, 2012 – a useful source for fiction writers (and editors) trying to get some distance from a manuscript and revise rigorously
- a web article about ideal lengths for submissions, by genre < http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/word-count-for-novels-and-childrens-books-the-definitive-post>
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King, HarperResource
- Novel Shortcuts: Ten Techniques That Ensure a Great First Draft by Laura Whitcomb, Writer’s Digest Books
- Writing Down the Bones by Nathalie Goldberg, Shambhala
- books from Self-Counsel Press, including Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy by Crawford Kilian
- additional books from Writer’s Digest Books, including Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements into Your Story, by Steven Harper
Of course, there are many more wonderful, inspiring, wise books written about writing out there. And what may work for one writer (and manuscript) may not work for another. This is only a sample.