So, you want to learn how to write a novel.
But, where do you start?
Are you going to Google how to write a novel?
Or perhaps attend a local writing workshop?
Or should you enroll in a novel writing course?
There are things you should consider when buying an online novel writing course. And finding local writing workshops can be hard depending on your location.
That’s why books are my go-to resources. There’s a ton of how-to-write-a-novel books on Amazon!
I’ve curated here what I think are the best ones among the pile I’ve read.
But before we head over to my list of most recommended books, let me give you some reminders first.
1. Prioritize reading time
As much as you want to prioritize writing, you also should also prioritize reading. You need to fill your creative well by reading.
I mentioned in this post that deactivating my Facebook allowed me to read two books in a week. I now have reactivated my Facebook account but only open it once every few days. And I still don’t have a Facebook app on my phone.
Try to see are your time suckers and do your best to avoid them. And then read instead.
But reading isn’t enough.
2. Take Notes
I often get light bulb moments when I’m reading a craft book.
Take notes so that you don’t forget them. It’s not enough to just try and store your acquired knowledge inside your head. Brainstorming is good but it’s done better when put into writing. Especially when you come up with a nice plot twist while reading a book.
Writing a novel is a complicated process. It’s better to have some notes you can refer to later on.
3. Keep in mind that what the author teaches is what worked for them
There is no one correct way to write a story.
What they teach them might not work for you.
It’s good to read a lot of craft books so that you know what worked for others and perhaps you can try it.
But just because one author said to do this, doesn’t mean you have to follow it to the letter.
Sometimes you need to take one strategy from one author and then another strategy from another author then create a somewhat hybrid strategy for yourself.
Find out what works for you. But you wouldn’t find this if you don’t put in the work.
4. Start writing
It’s not enough to read a ton of craft books but keep on pushing writing your book on the back burner.
Often, too much knowledge can stop you from writing.
I’ve read a ton of books that when it came to writing my book, I was somehow paralyzed because I didn’t know where to start. After all the books I’ve read, I thought I was overwhelmed with all the techniques I’ve learned that I didn’t know how to apply them in real life.
Remedy this by writing. Even if you don’t know where to start.
If there’s a scene you really like, write it down. Or perhaps a captivating dialogue. Or a picturesque you want to describe. Write. It. Down.
Take one step at a time. Start with what you know now.
Don’t brainstorm inside your head. Write all your ideas and just start writing your book.
5. Don’t aim for perfection on your first draft
Yes, we need to read to learn. But doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to make mistakes.
Even after reading a ton of craft books, you wouldn’t be able to write a publishable book right away. And that’s okay! Writing is a skill. You can edit and revise after that. What’s important is you have something to edit rather than just thinking of writing a book.
*rubbing my palms*
I’m excited to share with you my list of craft books I highly recommend. I hope these books will give you guidance and enlightenment the way they did to me.
First, I’m going to give you the top three books I recommend.
1. The Writer’s Journey
By Christopher Vogler
The Writer’s Journey is so good Shaunta at Ninja Writers uses this as a reference in her course Plotting Workshop. And I can see the reason why. If you’ve ever been stuck in plotting and how your story fits together, this is the book.
Most books focus on one single subject. And that’s great because you get to focus on a single area like dialogue, or plotting, or character arcs.
But this book gives you a glimpse of what your book can become and then takes you on the journey from having an idea to fleshing it out as a novel. If you’re having trouble with plotting, read this book. It will give you the significant events your book should have.
2. 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love
By Rachel Aaron
In 2k to 10k book, Rachel doesn’t go around the bush and delivers straight to the point tips and strategies on how she’s written 10k a day. You don’t have to have a goal that big. But her strategies are practical that you can apply it to amp your word count.
Her technique in writing and plotting are worth noting. Although this book is short, I wrote pages and pages of notes while reading it!
3. Make Every Word Count: A Guide to Writing That Works—for Fiction and Nonfiction
By Gary Provost
Make Every Word Count is a book I like to re-read over and over. This is the book that taught me how to show, don’t tell. Plus other writing tips that you’ll be able to use whether you write fiction and nonfiction.
So those are my top there. But don’t stop with those three because below are more writing books that I know will change the way you write.
By: Anne Lamott
By: James Scott Bell
By: Chris Fox
By: Donald Mass
I will update this post whenever I come across a good book. For now, start with any of these seven.
Over To You
What craft books have you read that changed the way you write?